DU Bookstore, bankrupt of books?

The University of Denver Bookstore

Students at the University of Denver lined up at the bookstore at the beginning of spring quarter only to find their books were not in supply, impacting both students and teachers alike.

Rather than books, students like Sam Thomsen found backorder sheets and long wait times. “I actually wasn’t able to get all of my books this semester, they had all of them but two,” Said Thomsen.

Jens Olsen a senior here at DU had a similar experience “I was only able to get one when I went,” he said. “All the others one they sent back because they didn’t think they needed them, and the rest of them they just hadn’t ordered in.”

Impact in the classroom

So far, Thomsen has said the impact of missing books has only played a marginal role in his grades in the class room, but the full effect “remains to be determined.” Thomsen also stated he has about 100 pages of reading to catch up on, due to his missing books.

Olsen was not so fortunate, “Well one of the classes we have been having daily quizzes on the reading and I didn’t get my book until today (4/4/2012). So I had basically a week and half worth of class that I’ve been quizzed on, but haven’t been able to have the readings.”

Olsen also said he hasn’t been able to do his readings “Because the bookstore said well we will get the books to you in two days, but it took a week and a half to get it into the store, and be able to pick it up. So it has definitely been hurting my grade, and been a hindrance, it sucks.”

Bookshelves are empty with back order sheets in their place.

Several students are now playing from behind the eight ball due to this is issue, a student Callen Blackburn, who left the bookstore empty-handed said “It’s week two and still no books. Those of us without them are already behind.”

This impact wasn’t limited to just students and teachers. Head of the Undergraduate English Department, Linda Bensel-Meyers said she has found the book shortage to be much more problematic. “I have gotten complaints from teachers (about the lack of books). A couple of our faculty members had to redesign their course completely, because their books weren’t here when they needed them the first week, so they had to redo their syllabi,” she explained.

In her own class she saw the effect firsthand, and had to loan out her copy of the course book to a student to prevent a syllabus change herself.


Business model backfiring?

        This new problem has seemed to arrive at the same time as new management company Follet overtook stocking and other operations for the campus’ book store. Bensel-Meyers said she never remembers the shelves being this empty, and believes it due to this new model. “It is purely the corporate business model that comes in and replaces the bottom line with profit rather than students” she said.

On the Follet website the company states “We provide an array of services and products to help you create a more exciting retail environment and profitable bookstore.” They also list several company values such as customers, innovation, integrity, accountability, etc. And according to several sources from the bookstore and their customers, they offered free two day shipping to help students out who found their books to be out of stock.

When asked if he had ever had trouble getting his books in his four years here Olsen, stated “No never, they have always had them there and they had used copies, and I could always rent them, because it is cheaper that way. But this quarter has been bad, nothings been there. I have never had problems with finding my books, before the school always had them in stock, and this is my fourth year, so that’s what 11 quarters of classes without having the issue.”

Thomsen also said that before the takeover, in his first two quarters here as a freshman book supply was never an issue, only now in his third quarter has he had a problem in obtaining his books on campus.

 “We have the internet, we have recourse.”

Teachers and student alike now have to figure out what to do about the under stocking of books. For many, that answer has been Amazon. Bensel-Meyers said “[Teachers] have decided we are going to now tell students to buy their books from Amazon. In the past we didn’t have any recourse, but now we have the internet, we have recourse. “

When asked how he planned to deal with the missing books, “Thomsen said I think it is going to be cheaper for me in the long run to use Amazon, especially because I get free two day shipping with student prime.” Student prime is a program offered by Amazon that allows students to get shipping benefits, such as free two day shipping, and $3.99 overnight shipping for a half a year free by activating an .edu email. They also allow students to renew the program for half the price of normal consumers for as long as they are in school.

Student Steve Dunn has already turned to Amazon citing it as cheaper and knowing stock is not in short supply. He said “I was able to save $35 on one textbook alone shopping on Amazon.” He got this course book for just $10, a 78 percent decrease from the bookstores asking price of $45.

Thomsen also said when buying books in the future, “I will most likely use Amazon, only because it cheaper, saves me time, money, and helps me avoid annoying second visits to the bookstore.”

Olsen also echoed the opinions cited above saying, “In the past I have used Amazon because you can books for 2 bucks. And maybe after this I’ll buy Amazon books because I don’t want to have to wait another week after classes start to get my books.”


2 Responses to DU Bookstore, bankrupt of books?

  • Cory Lamz
    Cory Lamz says:

    Great bookstore photos. I especially liked the photos of the empty shelving. If a picture is worth a thousand words, that picture is worth 10,000! This all comes at an interesting time, since Follett’s takeover seems to have changed a lot of bookstore operations. I wish you would have talked to some professors though – how has it affected their teaching methods or their courses as a whole?

  • Rhianna Dow
    Rhianna Dow says:

    I really liked the empty bookshelf photos as well. I experienced this issue as well when going to see what books I needed this quarter. However, I am still confused as to why students are still buying books from the bookstore because it is far more expensive than other sources online.

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