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Bookstore checking out textbook alternatives

Due to the low amount of textbooks ordered this year because of reduced enrollment and fewer textbook requests, 49er Shops Inc. has been looking forward to new ideas and innovations on making the University Bookstore a more viable option.

According to 49er Shops Director of Communications Rosa Hernandez, while the current state of the bookstore has seemed grim, she is hoping for better days.

“We’re going through some growing pains due to the tide, but it’ll change in the process,” she said.

With the economy being in a bit of a slump, education has faced its lowest in years, leading some to believe there will be fewer books offered in the campus bookstore. However, 49er Shops plans to increase the number of used books, according to Hernandez. She said the textbook rental program will also increase its stock, which will be provided as early as spring 2010.

Part of the limitations of rentals and used books are the faculty’s hesitation during requisition process. Due to some professors not meeting deadlines on their textbook request form, the bookstore faces complications when receiving books and having too many new books, which can be costly.

49er Shops has been looking for more cost efficient ways of supplying books. The bookstore considered, for example, not updating textbook editions each semester.

“On the flipside, faculty can’t change the editions of the textbook but at the same time, we’re trying to emphasize the fact that faculty should save money by having less editions ordered,” Hernandez said.

Many students are frustrated about the lack of options they’re given when buying or selling books at the bookstore.

“Most of the books I get, I find them at the bookstore. The prices are exaggerated,” said Jennifer Avina, a sophomore criminal justice major. “It’s not worth buying books from school, but due to busy time schedules, I rely on the school bookstore.”

Francis Parent, a senior communication studies major said he buys mostly used textbooks.

“I feel professors understand the financial situation most of the students are in and have done their best to accommodate for that,” Parent said. “I feel professors care about students and the bookstore is more focused on profit.”

Of the California State University campuses, seven have provided textbook rentals — CSULB was the first, according to Hernandez.

“The bookstore itself is an entity and not a mom-and-pop store,” Hernandez said.

49er Shops is now teaming up with faculty and 17 student organizations, including fraternities, sororities and other student clubs. Most of the bookstore’s profits go directly to organizations, financial aid, scholarships and events, Hernandez said.

49er Shops has also been putting its earnings toward another textbook alternative: the Internet.

“We’re making a Web site that is tech savvy, which will make the market fairer,” Hernandez said.

The Web site will have easier ways to find both hardcover and digital books. Students spend 50 percent less for digital books than normal book prices, according to Hernandez. 

 

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