This story has been updated on February 11th, 2017 at 3:38 p.m.
It’s been more than a week since spring semester began at Elon University, but many students are still having issues getting their books in time to complete assignments for classes.
It’s a result of a new book-ordering system, implemented last fall. The new system moved textbooks to a warehouse on South Church Street to make room on the second floor of the bookstore for more Elon gear, according to Barnes & Noble Store Manager Carly Mayer.
Before this change, textbooks were located on the second floor of the bookstore, available for students to either order ahead of time and pick up or pick up with no previous order.
Now, all of the textbooks have moved to a warehouse on South Church Street. The change in the system came when the store noticed that 85 percent of students ordered their textbooks ahead of time.
But the new system is proving to be a bit of an issue to some students, such as sophomore Claudia Mortati, whose textbook was backordered for the entire week.
“It’s been kind of stressful to have to do all my readings on the internet and to have people sending me photos of textbook pages,” Mortati said. “It’s just unnecessarily complicated when I could just be ... getting finished.”
The delay in textbooks hasn’t only proved to be an issue for students. In some classes, more than half of students still don’t have their textbooks in the first week. This delay causes professors, such as Anthony Hatcher, associate professor of communications, to improvise on lesson plans.
“I think a week’s delay is about as much as I can do,” Hatcher said. “Otherwise, we’re pushing necessary knowledge, definitions, terminology ... background, history, context — all of those things are being delayed because not everyone has a textbook.”
The bookstore processes more than 2,500 textbooks in two weeks for pick-up, with a typical one-day wait time for students, according to Mayer.
“I just want to make clear that backorders are orders where we didn’t have the book at the time we fulfilled the order, so it went on backorder,” Mayer said. “But there’s a difference between that and then orders that just aren’t ready for pick-up yet.”
Overall, Mayer said that productivity and manpower from employees has not been the cause of the delay, stating that the bookstore “is in better shape with backorders than they’ve been in [her] tenure” at Barnes & Noble and that she is “proud of the work that [her] team has done to accomplish that.”
To clarify, the “new system” referred to previously in the article is in reference to a move of textbooks from the second floor of the library to a warehouse on S. Church Street in Burlington, North Carolina, and not a new system for students to order books online. Although this move is new to this school year, the online ordering system has been the same for 5 years.
The source of many back-ordered books on the bookstore’s end has been a result of faculty ordering older editions of books, which, in order to be delivered, must be tracked down through a different source, and sometimes multiple.
Fulkerson also wanted to note that a faculty member can always check with the university store to see if the books are in stock.
In a statement, Fulkerson said, “I think we can improve this concern by sharing what is needed on both sides of book ordering to improve the process as well as what is happening in Barnes & Noble at Elon University. Delays in ordering books by faculty or students puts Barnes & Noble at Elon University in an awkward position of having to justify why the books aren’t in the hands of students as needed when it may not be their fault.”