The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Textbooks on backorder

Photo by Photo by Cameron Johnson

A textbook in Barnes & Noble in the Memorial Student Center on Tuesday, Sep. 6, 2022.

With the high demand at the beginning of the semester, the Texas A&M bookstore has been unable to complete all student orders. But the low stock of the bookstore is not the only reason students chose to look elsewhere for their materials.

The bookstore located in the Memorial Student Center, or MSC, is experiencing an exceptionally high volume of orders — causing many students to have their books on backorder. Students are required to purchase certain books for classes in a timely manner but are unable to find a copy of the book required at the university’s bookstore.

Despite the low stock and high demands, business freshman Selina Sakura said the A&M bookstore provides an ease for students to get their material. 

The A&M bookstore supplies students with a personalized cart of anticipated supplies. This allows many students to see all their needed textbooks in one place, which can relieve some stress, Sakura said.

“The [A&M] bookstore allows you to see what textbook is required for a class, so it has been really easy to navigate and see what are the required materials and what are the optional materials instead of having to go through all the class syllabuses,” Sakura said.

Engineering sophomore Gabe Ross said his experience was pretty straight forward because of the book guides provided by the store.

 “You can just go to the [A&M bookstore] website and see all the needed books for the classes you are in by just searching up the class section and number,” Ross said.

Despite this, Ross, along with other students, have experienced book backorders directly before assignment due dates.

“Actually getting the textbook is the most difficult part of ordering through the school bookstore,” Ross said. “The fact that there are not enough of a certain book, the high prices of the books and the worry of having to return the book makes the bookstore unappealing to me.”

Regardless of the ease locating the ISBN number of each required book, the bookstore has its shortcomings during pickup, Sakura said. 

“The one textbook that I needed for my [Fundamentals of Information Systems] class was not available at the bookstore despite me trying to order it a couple days early so that I could have it in time for my first assignment,” Sakura said. “The bookstore never told me an exact time on when I would be receiving the textbook which is one con for the bookstore.” 

In regard to students’ books being placed on backorder, students like Sakura have begun to look toward e-books as their next option. 

“I prefer an e-book because it is easier to transport compared to a heavy physical copy, so I do not mind the alternative of finding my material elsewhere,” Sakura said.

The flexibility of an e-book makes students, like Ross, prefer it over a physical copy.

“Personally, I would choose an e-book over a physical book, mainly because I can usually find e-books for a cheaper price than a hand held copy, and sometimes I can even find an e-book for free online,” Ross said. “E-books are also easier because you can [control-f] and search a needed topic in a short amount of time instead of having to look through every page for a certain fact.” 

Lower prices of an e-book is also appealing to students like Sakura when compared to the high prices of the bookstore.

“The prices for the [A&M] bookstore are definitely more expensive, which deters me from trying to buy a book from the [A&M] bookstore,” Sakura said. “This usually requires me to search other resources and websites to see if they have the textbook I need at an affordable price.” 

The high prices of the A&M bookstore caused many students to find their material on Amazon, Chegg and straight from the publisher in the form of a digital copy. Ross said they were able to find a needed textbook for a reduced price on Amazon compared to the university bookstore. 

“I feel like the local bookstore rigs the system because of the prices of their books,” Ross said. “When I look on Amazon, the book is more than likely half the price of the textbook at Barnes & Noble. People should lean toward Amazon first to find their textbooks.” 

Despite many concerns from students, the university bookstore was not timely to fix any issues or send notifications of what to do if a student’s book was placed on backorder.

“The only email I was sent from the bookstore was the notification that the book was on backorder,” Sakura said. “The bookstore never followed up on this notification to inform me when the textbook would be available, no specific time on when I would receive the material needed for me to succeed in my classes.” 

The poor communication between the bookstore and students is upsetting for many students that are waiting on their textbook to complete their tasks. The bookstore should have enough books for the students, as the school knows the number of professors and maximum number of students per class, as well the readings each professor is requiring so there should be no reason that there is a low supply of books, Ross said. 

“I showed up to class and they gave me the name and ISBN of the book I needed,” Ross said. “When I went to order it from the bookstore there were not enough copies of the book. … I do not agree that when I order a book I have to wait two weeks for it to come in, but the essay I need to write over the first few chapters is due in three weeks, which does not give me enough time to be fully prepared.”

At the time of publication, the Texas A&M Bookstore was unavailable to comment on student concerns.

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