22 January 2019
Zachary J Engelman
The spring semester is here, and students are now dealing with one of the biggest headaches of every semester: buying textbooks. The UCCS Bookstore is usually the first stop for these students, but recently some students have become unhappy with the way it is run.
One common issue brought up by students is price. “It is pricey and ineffective,” said Jareth Spirio, a summer camp teacher for TheaterWorks and actor for the Fine Arts Center. He elaborates, mentioning that it is usually cheaper to shop around. Some students mention that some of the books they need end up selling out before everyone in their classes are able to get one.
Another popular complaint of students is the large crowds in the first few weeks of the semester. One student, Arantxa Chavez, a junior studying Theater, said “The UCCS Bookstore tends to have really long lines.”
Chavez is often put off by the history of crowded chaos at the store, but also admits that it might just be a symptom of a new semester and will eventually die down.
With plenty of online competition, the pressure is on for this resource to improve its image.
Paul Deniston, Director of Retail Services at UCCS, is subsequently the person in charge of making improvements.
Deniston seemed confident and ready for the coming chaos, mentioning that they had just added to the staff. This should provide some extra power to deal with the masses as the semester revs up. He also put together a plan to deal with the stress of the crowded store. “We’re going to be serving beverages in line, we’ve never done that before,” he said.
With this added preparation for the first few weeks, students might expect a smoother experience than in past semesters.
Deniston also seemed to be battling alongside students when it comes to pricing. “We really do have students in mind with every decision we make.” He went on to mention a program he called “price transparency,” which allows students to use a price comparison tool to shop for textbooks with other key competitors right on the UCCS website.
“We always use market pricing,” said Deniston, referring to the bookstore’s practice of comparing prices to offer the most competitive price possible. They have also increased the number of used books they carry and have expanded the rental program that they offer.
Another feature being added is a digital subscription option. This allows students to pay a subscription fee to get access to a broad array of digital textbooks. According to the bookstore’s website, “These subscriptions save students money over individual prices.”
Deniston is also trying to get ahead of the complaints. He and the bookstore have recently hired four Student Advocates to focus on finding ways to collaborate with the student body to improve the bookstore experience. They will act as liaisons for students moving forward.
Deniston seemed to be doing everything in his power to address the issues that students have, but will it be enough to satisfy the previously unhappy customers? Now that more textbooks, price comparison tools, free drinks in line and student liaisons have been added to the bookstore’s resources, perhaps students will find less stress in shopping for their textbooks at UCCS.