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Bookstore Ordering Process

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Textbook Ordering Cycle

When will books for my classes be on the shelves?

Our goal is to have every book on our shelves approximately two weeks prior to the start of classes; earlier, if possible.

How do we decide how much to order?

In order to be the most efficient, keep our costs down, stay profitable and keep prices as low as we can, we aim to have just enough books to satisfy student needs with a little extra just in case. Gone are the days of ordering a book for everyone enrolled.

Factors Considered When Making Buying Decisions

  1. Estimated enrollment numbers based on enrollment history and any new information such as more or fewer sections as compared to previous terms.
  2. Sales history and sell-through in particular. Sell-through is a measure of how many students in a class historically buy the text. For example, does past history show us that typically a particular percentage of enrolled students buy textbooks?
  3. Increased online competition. How available is a particular title on the open market? Is the book in a format that makes it easily found on the open market? For example, bundled textbooks are much rarer to find from a different vendor.
  4. Is a book available as a rental and what does past history tell us about its popularity?
  5. Alternate formats affect our product mix. Past sales history can help us to estimate how much of different formats such as unbound or e-books vs. traditional books we should order.
  6. What types of materials are adopted? For example, custom published materials usually enjoy higher sell-through.
  7. The age of the edition is also a consideration, since the longer an edition has been around, the more alternate sources students can find, including buying or borrowing from a friend.
  8. The particular class or program can impact the buying decision. Past history has indicated to us a higher propensity in some classes or programs for students to share a book or not buy a book at all. Word gets around when certain books aren’t really necessary for a class even if we have been told they are required.

I send in my information on time, yet you still run out of books. Why?

As noted above, the number of texts ordered is based on many considerations. While we make informed buying decisions based on all the available information we have, we are not able to see the future and in any given course it is possible for us to run out of books. Sometimes enrollment exceeds our estimates. Sometimes the publisher is out-of-stock. Sometimes there was a late adoption change. And, sometimes we simply make mistakes. Any one of these issues can cause us to run out of inventory and create a shortage.