The third week of the semester is winding down, yet some students are still waiting for their books to arrive. The USF Bookstore – managed by Barnes & Noble – must do a better job of getting the books it promises on the dates it promises.
The late arrival of books can cause serious problems for the instructors, especially in lab-based classes that rely heavily on recording work in workbooks. Students and instructors are left hanging when said workbooks are not available when necessary.
Further exacerbating the problem is the issue of financial aid deadlines. Students receiving grants or scholarship money that must be spent on books within the first week of classes are, quite simply, out of luck.
This is especially damning in incidents where the books are of high importance in the classroom. In more general classes, students may be able to order books online or buy them at an off-campus bookstore if they are unavailable from the USF Bookstore, but in cases like the delayed workbooks this is often impossible because local bookstores will not carry the texts. Instructors are forced to make a decision to either allow the class to lag behind until all students have access to the same resources or make copies of pages of books students will later buy anyway. This is a waste of both resources and time.
It is understandable that mishaps do occur. It may be unreasonable to demand all books be available on the shelves come the first day of classes, but it is not unreasonable to ask Bookstore officials to do their best to keep such incidents from occurring whenever possible. Many irritated students and instructors can attest that problems occur far too often.
The USF Bookstore is no charity organization and has to ensure that their business remains profitable. That said, it is not too much to ask for Barnes & Noble – one of the nation’s largest booksellers and operator of campus bookstores – to better organize shipments to its locations.Barnes & Noble has not disclosed how much money it is making through its relationship with USF. However, it is safe to assume that the business students bring to the company’s stores at USF is considerable. In return, students should be able to rely on Barnes & Noble to do everything in its power to make disruptions in book availability as small as possible.