Policy Changes at Bookstore Implemented for Students’ Benefit

The start of the spring semester saw new policies in effect for the Colgate Bookstore. For the first time, the ISBN numbers of books were available on the Colgate Portal to all students. In addition, the Bookstore implemented various discounts in order to adequately compete with online vendors.

The Bookstore’s new agenda came as a result of cooperation between the Student Government Association (SGA), Information Technology Services (ITS) and the Colgate Administration. The collaboration of these three groups made it possible for students to view the ISBN, a numerical identification unique to every book, which helped alleviate textbook-pricing issues.

“We’ve always held ourselves out to be a service to the students,” Director of the Bookstore Victoria Brondum said. “We are constantly reviewing our policies and our internal structure to make sure we are servicing the students.”

According to new provisions under the Higher Education Opportunity Act, institutions receiving federal money must give students certain book information, including the ISBN, starting in 2010. The Bookstore implemented these requirements earlier than necessary in hopes of being able to assist students as soon as possible.

“These new policies are still a work in progress. This is the first step in what we can do, and we’re always looking to see what else we can do as we evaluate the financials that are in front of us,” Marketing and Assistant Textbook Manager Marty Bair said.

In addition to providing the ISBN, a wide variety of discounts were made available to students for the first time. For example, students who reserved their books online got two free notebooks with their order. The result was largely positive, with the Bookstore achieving record online sales. It also received various student remarks on the competitiveness of some Bookstore textbooks in comparison to online vendors such as Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.

The managerial staff of the Bookstore stressed that they are there to service both students and the University. Moreover, the staff supported students buying directly from the Bookstore, rather than from outside vendors.

“When you buy from the Colgate Bookstore you’re in essence buying from yourself,” said Brondum. “The money that we raise goes right back to the University.”

According to Bair, this money can ultimately go back to the Budget Allocations Committee (BAC) and other student and University initiatives.

“The Bookstore is working to keep [student] business here to help [the students] and to help the school itself,” Assistant Director and Textbook Manager Linda Miers said.

Although the total financial ramifications of the new policies have yet to be calculated, the Bookstore pledges that it will continue these policies in future semesters. Such events as Student Book Buyback will also continue because they further aid the students. Miers explained that students not only receive cash back, but they also provide the store with used books — a critical aspect of today’s model of purchasing textbooks.

Additionally, through a deal with the Nebraska Book Company, the Company can buy books from the Bookstore in exchange for a check that is then donated to a charitable cause. For example, from the most recent buyback the Hamilton Food Cupboard will receive a donation of $1,200.

Bair added that future services are in the works as well. One such service involves the availability of digital textbooks in place of print material.

“There will come a day when you will have the choice between a new book, a used book or a digital copy,” Bair said.

As the policies continue and evolve, the store hopes students will predominately buy from them.

“We are interested in taking care of our students. We think it’s in their best interest and in ours,” Mier said.