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Book delay causes frustration

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Many students who bought books through the Grand Rapids Community College Bookstore this semester experienced a delay on their books. The bookstore, owned by a private company named Follett, had multiple books out of or under stocked.

In an email statement, Follett explained that the “timeliness in order placement and follow-up on textbook adoption changes were central factors contributing to out-of-stock titles.”

Students and professors alike were frustrated regarding the book delays.

“There are a lot of departments affected by this,” said Aleta Anderson, German and Spanish professor and Language and Thought department head.  “Everyone is complaining.”

This is the first year that the administration has changed to an electronic system to order books.

Anderson understands that this new system is throwing people off, but she is discouraged by the fact that books ordered in April were not here on time.  She feels that too many books were missing this fall.

Mike Vargo, interim associate dean of Arts and Sciences, said that compared to previous years this semester saw a higher than average amount of books unavailable to students in the first week.

Four students crowd around one book.

Vargo said that only 90 percent of the books were available.

Being privately owned, GRCC has no control over how Follett handles their book orders.

“This semester has been very frustrating for faculty, staff, and students,” Vargo said.  “We are working with Follett to improve the effectiveness with this process going forward.”

Vargo emphasized that the main focus of the bookstore is to serve each student materials so they are able to be prepared with classes.

Follett has stated that they have solved most of the issues regarding missing textbooks within the first week of school.  However, as of mid-September, there are still some books that have not gotten to the bookstore.