The WKU Store expands digital options

As the new year arrives and the semester begins at WKU students gather at the WKU Bookstore to get their books and school supplies. Johnathan Partlow Jr., a junior at WKU, finds books for his spring classes. “I’m stacked with book requirements for the semester” Partlow said.

Griffin Fletcher

As of this semester, on account of a partnership with two prominent ebook vendors, the WKU Store is offering over 50 percent of its book titles in the ebook format, ensuring that students of all learning styles are suited to best tackle their coursework while saving money, as ebooks are known to cost sometimes half the price of a print copy.

For any students not familiar with ebooks or their features, ebooks offer bookmarking, highlighting and search and define functions, and all ebooks purchased through The WKU Store can be accessed on all devices that have internet capabilities, given that ebooks are url-based.

Sarah Sears, WKU Store Marketing Coordinator, wrote in an email that the Store’s decision to invest more in digital options is a result of watching “the trends within the college store industry” and a desire to better serve the needs of WKU’s students.

“Students are so unique in their various learning styles: visual and tactile versus auditory, tech savvy versus not so savvy; however, nearly all students are the same when it comes to wanting the best price,” Sears said in the same email. “[W]e have to keep a closer watch on what our own campus community really wants.”

Along with the Store’s move toward more ebook options, its Day One Access (DOA) initiative has expanded. By way of coordinating alongside various WKU departments, the WKU Store is now able to provide students in certain courses with exactly the ebook needed for the course, available the first day of classes, hence the name. Any student enrolled in a DOA course is automatically billed to their Student Bill the second week of classes, in case any last minute schedule changes take place, though the student is able to access the ebook from the start of the course. If a student would rather own a print copy of any course required ebook text, the Store is providing loose-leaf copies of ebook texts for much cheaper than the text’s hardback counterpart, available in store upon request.

Due to the digital nature of DOA, students need not worry about ordering their books for DOA courses, given that ebooks are “not contingent on physical stock with the publisher and within the store,” Sears said. “By opting to go digital, the student is guaranteeing that they will have access to their course materials on the first day of class.”

Derick Robertson, WKU Store Course Materials Manager, said in the same email that The WKU Store “tr[ies] to be competitive with so many options for textbooks,” referencing the Store’s move toward digital and DOA.

Though 34 percent of the store’s titles were available in the ebook format during the Fall 2017 semester, as of the third day of this semester, the Store had already seen a three percent increase in ebook sales from last semester.

As for the future, The WKU Store is looking to continue expanding and meeting the needs of its students.

“The objective is to give the students a format that suits their learning style and to offer it at the lowest price possible,” Sears said. “Expanding our ebook market saves the students money, the university money (in inventory and receiving labor) and not to mention keeps a number of trees alive and well.”

Feature reporter Griffin Fletcher can be reached at 270-745-2655 and [email protected].

Correction: The print version of this story had an incorrect headline which read “The WKU Store expands it digital options.” This has been corrected online. The Herald regrets the error.