As midterms approach, some students are still waiting to receive their textbooks from the Missouri Western bookstore or have chosen to purchase them off campus due to inventory issues.
Since the beginning of the semester, students have struggled to find the textbooks for their courses since the campus bookstore has less books than students enrolled in those courses. This issue has caused some courses to be pushed back and has left students scrambling to find their books with assignment deadlines nearing.
According to Lauren Martin, the regional manager for Barnes and Noble College, textbook inventory depends on previous years’ enrollments.
“We base all of our orders off of what we historically sold in every course, while we take into account any enrollment changes term to term,” Martin said.
Barnes And Noble College continually reviews their inventories to keep books stocked, but it is not uncommon for a textbook to be sold out very quickly. Professors at Missouri Western ordered their textbooks for the spring semester as far back as October of 2019, but the bookstore cannot be sure of enrollment numbers until far after the semester has started.
“We always ask that if the faculty has concerns over how many books we have on order, for them to reach out to us and we will work with them,” Martin said .
The reason that the bookstore doesn’t stock additional textbooks, according to Martin, is that it is a long process that can cost the company.
“Any additional inventory that we do not sell, we do have to return all of that to the publishers,” said Martin. “We go through an entire returns process for every semester to return excess inventory, if the inventory is returnable. Sometimes publishers will not allow returns.”
If students are not able to find the physical books for their courses, the bookstore does offer a digital copy of some books for purchase so students can have access to the material that same day. The bookstore can also order the textbook at any time during the semester, even up until finals week.
Despite the recent announcement of the bookstore moving locations, Martin does not believe any additional issues will arise.
“We are working very closely with the campus to have the least impact to students or faculty with the move,” Martin said. “We have been in a partnership with Missouri Western since 1987. Our goal is to have the right books for every student at the right time.”
However, some students feel like there is more the bookstore could do to achieve that goal. Some students were left behind, waiting for their textbooks to arrive, while their fast-paced classes continued on without them. As a nursing major, Jazmyn Weston said it can be difficult to keep up with classes.
“They said they didn’t have four of my books that I needed and I had to wait two weeks,” said Weston. “You’re behind. You don’t have the resources that you need to get your work done.”
Junior biochemistry major Hallie Wilcoxson said that her lab course manuals, which are only available at Missouri Western, were unavailable for up to two weeks after the start of the semester.
“A lot of the time they will be late on lab manuals, and as science majors we are constantly in labs,” Wilcoxson said. “It put back lab schedules for two weeks. We were coming up with random labs to try to accomodate because they had run out before the first day.” Wilcoxson said.
Although Martin did not encourage students to look elsewhere for their textbooks, students are not required to purchase books at the bookstore. Students with concerns about book vouchers can contact Financial Aid at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the office in Eder 103.