Yuba College students and staff struggled through the beginning of the semester from a lack of books at the campus bookstore, recently under new management of Follett.
Barnes & Noble managed the Yuba College bookstore in the past, and it was only until last summer’s bidding that the ownership of the bookstore shifted.
On June 20, 2001, the contract binding Yuba College and Barnes & Noble was not renewed, leaving the new management by Follett with a bumpy start getting books needed for the fall semester.
Students who had the misfortune of taking classes for which no books were available had to face the possibility of missing assignments and falling behind those who already received the few books that did come in.
Many students had already been assigned a large amount of work out of textbooks they did not possess, and it was not always possible for them to find someone else with the book to share with.
Members of the Yuba College faculty sacrificed their own time and money to make up packets for their students. Instructor Julie Brown printed and compiled the first two chapters of her class’s text for every student who had not yet received the book.
Printing chapters was expensive for Yuba College faculty and students since not everyone compiled them free of charge.
Students were sometimes charged for work packets in addition to the books they later had to buy to keep up to date with their classmates. Students not willing to pay for printed chapters risked falling behind the rest of their class.
The turmoil was caused by some miscalculations and bad timing of Yuba College. The order of books and class materials arrived in the hands of the new bookstore manager too late. Follett received book orders a few weeks before the fall semester began, making it difficult to provide every student with the required textbooks on time.
However, Follett’s Regional Manager of Sales and Operations, Kathy M. Waldner, remained confident, even given the lack of time, at the beginning of the semester.
In a letter to faculty and staff, Waldner said, “A full selection of new and used textbooks will be available in the right quantities before classes begin. And we routinely use overnight delivery to help ensure students have the books they need.”
But promises of a full selection of books for the fall semester fell empty.Waldner concluded her letter by saying, “We will initiate a Bookstore Advisory Committee consisting of administrators, faculty members, and students who will review our performance and provide us with valuable input.”
Only 5.6 cents out of a textbook dollar goes towards college bookstore operations, according to the National Association of College Stores and Association of American Publishers.