Textbook order cancellations cause stress

Orders have been suspended until problems can be resolved.

Due to record volume numbers in textbook orders and a University Bookstore-wide switchover of inventory control software, University Bookstore cancelled all orders for students taking classes on campus last week.

Student Auxiliary Services spokeswoman Michelle Froese said the decision to switch to new inventory control and point of service software was made in July to account for the burden of a record-size incoming class.

“In July, the University Bookstores migrated to a new point of sale system because the system that had been used for almost 15 years could no longer meet the growing needs of our multiple campus stores,” Froese said in an e-mail. “Migrating to a new system always presents bumps, but we experienced a significant problem with our e-commerce order fulfillment sites.”

Froese said such issues did not arise during previous years of textbook order procedures, and this made the time to process online orders unmanageable for bookstore employees.

“There are a multitude of issues, including order authorizations, duplicate shipments and inaccurate order information, causing staff to manually verify each order,” Froese said. “The time to process orders became unmanageable, so the decision was made to cancel the orders for those students who were physically taking classes at MU.”

University Bookstore employee Graham Spence said the bookstore offered gift certificates to those whose orders had to be canceled.

“People whose orders had been canceled were offered $25 certificates to the bookstore for the inconvenience,” Spence said. “After they've come in to pick up their books, they can redeem their gift certificates at the customer service desk.”

Spence, a bookstore employee for the past three semesters, said he did not sense the rush caused by canceled orders was noticeably different than previous years.

“There's no doubt the rush was crazy, but it's the kind of crazy you come to expect,” Spence said. “Once textbook season comes around, the bookstore hires temporary employees, and that helps make things run more smoothly on our end.”

Sophomore Katrina Ball, who was notified of her textbook cancellation two days before the start of classes, said she could have been notified earlier.

“To be honest, I was kind of pissed off about the fact that I had processed my order far in advance yet was only given a few days notice to get my books,” Ball said. “If I would have known earlier I could have saved myself the time and hassle by ordering off of Amazon.”

Ball said she recognizes the large task of processing textbook orders, but feels the process should have been planned for further in advance.

“I, as a student, can't really think of a feasible way for the Bookstore to deal with such large quantities of orders other than to plan ahead,” Ball said. “It unfortunately became my task to compensate for their slip-ups, and it became an inconvenient burden, especially as an off-campus student.”

Froese said textbook orders, if not fulfilled by students coming to the bookstore, will remain suspended until infrastructure issues are solved.

“MU Direct students' orders were processed, but these students were informed that books would not arrive before the first day of classes,” Froese said. “Until the bookstore can have the e-commerce system issues resolved, they will suspend any textbook orders.”

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