In January 2018, Meredith made a big change in how students purchased textbooks and course materials by moving to a new textbook vendor and an online bookstore model.
Through this model, course material ordering is done entirely online at Meredith.edu/textbooks, providing students more options to select new or used books, e-books, or rentals.
According to Provost Matthew Poslusny, the main goal for the change was to “help students save money on textbooks and to provide a more personalized, efficient ordering experience.”
Students have now been able to order course materials through the new system for three semesters. Data from the first full academic year, where more than 2,000 textbook orders were placed, show the new option is achieving its goals.
Students saved $223,496 off the publisher’s list price. More than 20% of these books were purchased by students using financial assistance vouchers – an option that wasn’t available prior to the switch to a new vendor.
According to a survey conducted by Akademos, the vendor that manages Meredith’s online bookstore, 93% of students who purchased their books through the online bookstore reported they were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the process.
Students described the ordering process as “user friendly” and “quick and easy.” Respondents also commented on being pleased with the pricing and the number of options available:
Akademos regularly surveys students about their experience with textbook orders. Assistant Provost Sarah Kibler encourages students to fill out the survey. “We take those comments seriously and make changes based on the feedback received.”
When concerns arose in the first semester about shipping costs and timeframes, Akademos made changes to their requirements to help.
With student input, improvements can continue to be made. Akademos has demonstrated its commitment to being a good partner, and is working with Meredith to make enhancements for 2019.
For example, Akademos is piloting a process that will allow students who order books early to have 30 days OR two weeks after the start of classes to return their books, so students are not penalized for ordering early. The company has also donated gift certificates to be used as door prizes at Meredith events, including the Cornhuskin’ pre-party.
Kibler encourages students to share any concerns related to textbook orders with her so she can investigate and assist students when possible.
For more information, visit meredith.edu/bookstore/bookstore-faqs.