Book, line and sinker

By Kim Stock

Have you ever wondered why sometimes the University of Calgary Bookstore never seems to have a copy of the book you want at the time you want it? The answer to such a perplexing thought is more complicated than you think.
While some people think the Bookstore purposely orders fewer books than required, this is not the case.

"As a rule of thumb, we don’t cut the orders," said U of C Bookstore Manager John Rayner. "In some instances, if we do cut the order, it’s based on history."

"It is easier to go with actual examples," added U of C Bookstore Course Materials Supervisor Wayne Borgstrom, who’s responsible for deciding how many books to order. "Sometimes it’s a misjudgment on my part. Things change from one year to the next."

While the Bookstore uses past sales figures to project the number of books to order, class enrolment also comes into consideration.

According to Rayner, sometimes the maximum enrolment figures fluctuate, and the Bookstore orders too few or too many texts as a result.

"It’s not in our best interests to be sold out of anything," said Rayner. "We will move mountains and fly books in here at our own expense."

There are other factors to take into account. Borgstrom also has to infer the number of used textbooks that will be sold, which reduces the number of new textbooks ordered.

A merger between two major publishing companies and suppliers of textbooks, Prentice Hall and Adison Wesley, recently occurred. The new company has had difficulties distributing stock to various institutions.

"Our distribution systems aren’t as robust as some in the us," said Borgstrom.

According to Borgstrom, it sometimes takes seven or more days to deliver books to the Bookstore.

"We’re so far away from the source of supply [Toronto]," added Rayner.

"I’ve been really lucky," said second-year Spanish student Sali Gálvez. "Those [books] that haven’t been there, it’s because they’re on their way or late."

Second-year Social Work student Amber Vadnais took a similar laid-back attitude.

"I think it’s a nice setup," she said. "The Bookstore and I have really gotten along. It makes for a good book buying experience."

Both students agreed that while things were organized and their return policy is efficient, they find the books too expensive.

"We try and maintain a reasonable price for the students," said Borgstrom. "We are part of the university. We’re not here to violate the students’ trust."

According to Rayner, the Bookstore tries to be as sympathetic to the needs of the student as possible.

"It’s very frustrating for us too when we don’t have to stock. It’s important to us to make the students happy."

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