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Meredith’s Change to an Online Bookstore Proves Successful

Iron sign with Meredith College on it

Last January, 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:

  •  “I liked the competitive price and brief purchase process. It saved me time and headache.”
  • “I liked the process, it was helpful they had everything I needed in one place!”
  • “I liked that I could get e-books for my textbooks.”
  • “I think this is a great upgrade to the bookstore and I was able to get just as good of deals here as I was anywhere else.”
  • “I think the marketplace is probably the best feature I have used. Having the ability to buy the books for much cheaper was really helpful.”

Faculty have played a critical role in the success of the new system by smoothly transitioning to the new adoption system, adopting textbooks earlier, and choosing lower cost materials.

For example, as of early November, 84% of book adoptions for Spring 2019 had already been submitted, which helps students be able to have their books in time for the beginning of classes.

“Because of the transparency of the book adoption process, many Meredith faculty have chosen to select less expensive course material options,” said Assistant Provost Sarah Kibler.

Akademos has demonstrated its commitment to being a good partner for Meredith. When concerns arose in the first semester about shipping costs and timeframes, Akademos made changes to their requirements to help.

While the change has been mostly positive, the Provost’s office and Akademos agree improvements can continue to be made and are working together 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.

Kibler encourages faculty to continue sharing ideas and 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.

Melyssa Allen

News Director
316 Johnson Hall
(919) 760-8087
Fax: (919) 760-8330

allenme@meredith.edu