Back(ordered) to School: Students Experience Textbook Delays

By: Amelia Rose Zimlich | Managing Editor | arz1722@jagmail.southalabama.edu

Image Source: USA Bookstore Facebook page

The commencement of the fall semester brings about the usual hustle and bustle of campus life. In these first weeks of school, the USA bookstore is busier than ever as many students experience delayed textbook orders.

“I walked in the first day or two of class and the line was almost out the back door,” said Andy Perry, a senior in the Communications department. “There was one person working at the register and she was taking her time.”

Delayed textbooks aren’t just causing students to miss reading material for their class. They are potentially causing financial problems, as well. The deadline for using financial aid at the bookstore ended on Monday, Aug. 23, according to the academic calendar. Students are faced with waiting an undisclosed amount of time until their orders are processed or paying out-of-pocket for their materials.

“I ordered my textbooks two weeks before classes started,” said Daniel Pennington, a senior majoring in strategic communications. “I kept checking my phone for the ‘pickup ready’ email from the bookstore, but it never came. I went the whole first week without my books.”

Pennington went to the bookstore to check on his order and waited in the order pickup line, which allegedly stretched to the front of the store, for 45 minutes before being told his books were back-ordered and to check the shelves for a copy.

“I just had [the cashier] cancel my entire order,” said Pennington. “I just bought them online like I should have done in the first place.”

The bookstore has been working to fulfill student orders and has had to come up with new solutions to help everyone get their textbooks, according to Jakob Hopper, a student worker at the bookstore. 

“We’ve been working our hardest and we’ve been trying to get all orders filled. Like yesterday [8/23], we were trying to get all scholarship-funded orders filled because scholarship funds ended yesterday,” Hopper said. “We’re even letting students fill their own orders and have it be processed back there [back of bookstore left of entrance] at the red desk.”

The Vanguard reached out to another employee for more information but was unable to make contact by the time of publication.