BYU store discontinues automatically ordering textbooks for freshmen

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The BYU Store is found in the Wilkinson Student Center on campus. The BYU store changed the way they fulfilled textbook orders this year. (Robyn Christensen)

The BYU bookstore discontinued their process of automatically ordering textbooks for freshmen Fall Semester 2022.

During the 2020-2021 school year, the BYU store automatically created online booklists for every incoming freshman student according to which classes each individual had signed up for. Students had the choice to opt out of having their books automatically ordered through the BYU store by a certain deadline, otherwise the books were automatically selected from class schedules and fulfilled.

Those booklists were then ordered, shipped to the store, bagged and shelved alphabetically. If a student changed classes and no longer needed a specific book or needed a new one instead, it was up to them to find the books on their own.

Afterwards, freshmen received an email that their student account had been charged for their books and sent a digital pickup ticket that had a combination of numbers and letters that correlated with where to find the book order on the shelves. Students arrived in large groups every day to the upper level of the BYU store in the weeks leading up to the first day of school to pick up their books.

In the 2021-2022 school year, the entire process was repeated for both the sophomore class and the new incoming freshman class.

This year, the store discontinued the whole process and returned to a former method of stocking quantities of books for most classes on campus, rather than immediately ordering every book for each student. Students had the option to ask the BYU store to fulfill their booklists by order the books needed for classes and shipping them to the store for the student to pick up, similar to the previous two years.

However, the booklists weren’t automatically fulfilled as they were before, and many students turned to other sources to purchase their books. Roger Dean, manager of store materials at the store, said, “The biggest reason was logistics and physical space.”

Roger Dean explains why the BYU store did not automatically fill textbook lists this semester. Dean is the manager of store materials and helped coordinate this decision. (Robyn Christensen)
Example of email sent to student by BYU store to pickup books. The BYU store discontinued this process for the 2022 Fall semester. (Robyn Christensen)

BYU reported 6,309 first-time freshmen students for 2020 and 5,414 first-time freshmen students for 2021. Combined, that is over 11,000 students that the BYU store automatically fulfilled book orders for.

With students changing class schedules or choosing to order textbooks elsewhere, Dean said it became too complex to fulfill the orders for so many students, especially with an additional freshman incoming class.

BYU sophomore Nicole Larrondo said she liked last year when the BYU store automatically ordered all her books for her. She said this year, she had a mix up with getting her books.

“It was a little tricky because I had ordered everything online and thought it was fine and then I never got a text message back saying it was ready,” Larrondo explained. “And then I went to the bookstore physically after two or three days and they didn’t have my order so I had to choose out all of my books by hand.”

Larrondo then said she was notified a couple weeks later that her ordered had been fulfilled, so she had two sets of her textbooks rented out, and returned to the BYU store to straighten things out and return one of the sets.

In contrast, BYU freshman Parker Green said, “I didn’t have trouble with it. I only needed two textbooks this year, so I got one from the BYU store and the other from Amazon.”

Dean says the BYU store does its best to accommodate everyone and may bring back the process in the future.

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