The UTD Bookstore’s ability to deliver more bang for a student’s book-buying buck depends, in part, on more professors turning their book lists in on time, according to bookstore officials.
To promote its new 50 percent book buyback program, bookstore officials are offering pizza parties as rewards to academic departments whose professors comply with established book order deadlines.
Under the program, students could receive 50 percent of the original selling price of a textbook if the book is ordered for use in an upcoming class, is in good condition and is not overstocked.
“We want to be able to give students as much money as possible,” said Deborah Whitley, UTD Bookstore store manager. “But, that depends on more active involvement by the academic departments.”
Whitley said the response by professors turning in their booklists in on time has increased significantly – up from 18.5 percent in 2003 to 46 percent by mid-spring.
“It’s been going really well,” said Mike Brown, UTD Bookstore textbook manager. “Approximately 75 percent of all the academic departments have gotten their booklists in by the end of the semester.”
The bookstore also has approached the Student Government Association (SGA) to assist in advertising textbook buybacks, according to SGA officials. Whitley and Lori Schrader, store manager of Barnes & Noble, spoke at the SGA meeting in March. Barnes & Noble has a business affiliation with the UTD Bookstore.
“They came to one of our meetings and made a presentation,” said Ryan Davidson, former SGA president. “(Their efforts) aren’t satisfactory, but we can tell they are trying.”
SGA was forced by the university to take down a booklist on their online book exchange last year. The booklist contained ISBN numbers, which violates a clause in the contract between UTD and Barnes & Noble that prohibits any competition displayed against Barnes and Noble. SGA hopes to redesign and implement a new online book exchange by spring 2005.
While SGA is not partnering with the UTD Bookstore in the new buy-back program, neither is it opposed to the new promotion.
“I think the sellback process is effective to some extent,” said Sophie Rutenbar, for SGA vice president. “Professors are sympathetic to student needs, just some don’t pay attention to emails and things like that.”
Many students have questioned why the UTD Bookstore does not make its prices more competitive.
“The UTD Bookstore needs to be more competitive against everyone, at least to increase their own business sales,” said Hani Hazim, molecular biology junior.
Consequently, students have turned to other resources such as Off-Campus Bookstore, Amazon.com, Ebay or personal transactions.
“Students can and should sell their books whenever they wish to,” Whitley said. “The students should go wherever they will get the most money. However, understand that while the UTD Bookstore is a place of business, we also give back to the university. For instance, the bookstore recently gave the Activity Center $5,000 this past year. We’re here for students, not against them.”
UTD Bookstore officials advise the best time to sell textbooks is during finals week, but the store will continue to buy back books throughout the year.