New textbook purchasing system may make lines obsolete

Jessica Sasseen

Standing in line to pay for books at the bookstore will soon become a thing of the past.

Western has developed a new system in which students can sign up to have their books for the next semester pulled and charged to their student account.

“I don’t know of any other school providing this service,” said Auxiliary Service Director Rob Chrisler.

Incoming freshman were previously offered a book reservation system through MASTER plan, but they still had to pay for books at the cash register in the bookstore.

This new program, which has been in development for the last eight months, is open to all students, free of charge. With a student ID number, the bookstore can look up a student’s schedule and pull and hold the proper books for the semester. Then the cost is charged to that student’s university account.

All orders must be placed by July 21. Students can sign up on the bookstore’s Web site for the program.

Used books will be issued on a first come, first served basis, Chrisler said. There is a preferences box on the order form where students can specify if they want used books.

Also, the bookstore has also adopted a match program.

“When your books are ordered, and if you find later they’re being sold somewhere else for cheaper and we can confirm this online, we’ll issue you a gift certificate to the bookstore for the difference,” Chrisler said. “This way people won’t be penalized for putting their order in early.”

In addition to providing lower prices than the competition, he said the new program will hopefully reduce the heavy bookstore traffic.

Bookstore director Shawna Cawthorn said this program has been very well received with OAR sessions.

“With us having access to students registration, we will know what section of classes and the professors and pull the right books,” she said. “It will help eliminate a lot of exchanges.”

Lebanon Junction sophomore Clay Harned said he is concerned about paying for books he may not need.

“The only thing is, if they look on the Internet and see that you’re in a certain class and charge you for that book, you may go to class and find you don’t really need the book or could get it from somebody else for cheaper,” Harned said. “But other than that, it sounds like a good idea.”

Another advantage to this system is that it spreads out the work to hopefully ease the push at the beginning of the year, Cawthorn said.

“We feel this program will bring more business, which means we can operate on a less margin,” Chrisler said. “We should at least be able to match. With the match price program, we’ll match anybody’s prices, but that’s the price when the book is in your hand.”

Chrisler said he feels it will take time for people to migrate to this system.

“Students will still have the freedom of choice,” he said, “But if you shop elsewhere, you can’t put it on the university account.”

Reach Jessica Sasseen at [email protected]