You’re three weeks into the semester and you’ve got a quiz in an upper-division class that requires you to have read the textbook. However, you couldn’t read the textbook because the Campus Store ran out on the first day of classes and Amazon didn’t deliver a copy until right before the quiz, leaving you to cram as much as possible into the next few hours before class.
For required classes, especially those that are upper-division and have limited seating, the Campus Store should carry enough required textbooks for the maximum seating of the class, or at least for as many students as are enrolled by a certain deadline. The Campus Store would be unlikely to take a loss from this in the long run since they can reuse these textbooks at least until newer editions are released, and even then older copies of a textbook may have value until the information is out of date.
“Most professors are fine with the students using the previous version of the book or even an earlier version than that,” said Trent Hamm in a Lifehacker article. “You just need to make sure what versions actually work for the class.”
According to employees at the Campus Store, “people have been ordering the textbooks weeks in advance” and “we have to take into account how many students will most likely order from somewhere else.”
OK, but what about all the students who rely on financial aid to purchase their textbooks? The earliest students could access financial aid this year was Aug. 12, and classes began on Aug. 19. During that time, people could still be doing paperwork or having other issues getting their financial aid.
With the number of enrolled students increasing every year, the Campus Store needs to be carrying more and more books each year, regardless of how many people might buy textbooks elsewhere.
Professors also contribute to the lack of books when they don’t meet their textbook adoption deadlines or change their minds about what textbooks to use after the deadline. This causes the Campus Store to scramble to buy the right book and to change the value of certain books during buyback week at the end of each semester.
So, if you want to ensure that the Campus Store carries enough of the textbooks you need, encourage your professors to meet their textbook adoption deadlines and make the Campus Store aware of your needs before buying somewhere else so they can improve next semester or next year.