Sitting in class bookless for weeks has been increasingly common among students battling book backups from eFollett and the JMU Bookstore.
Of the orders processed in January, 10 percent of book orders still haven’t been delivered.
According to JMU Bookstore Director Mark Glenn, the bookstore processed 5,500 book orders this semester using eFollett, a book and educational tool provider, that has worked with the bookstore since 1999.
Jessica McMahan, a sophomore political science major, ordered her books long before the beginning of the semester, but still had to wait before they arrived.
“They lost my books in Chicago — they were just sitting there, apparently,” McMahan said. “I ordered that one during, like, the first week of winter break.”
Late books impact not only students but also professors and their classes.
Benjamin Waring, a sophomore psychology major, who waited three weeks to receive all of his books, said his professor has had to adapt to a class where the majority of students don’t have books by photocopying chapters from the book and putting them online.
“My whole class has had problems with this, too,” Waring said. “We’re on chapter six now, so there are hundreds of pages up.”
Haleigh Morgan, public and campus relations specialist for eFollett, said that late order arrivals happen for various reasons, including late book orders from faculty members and students, as well as the location of the item being ordered.
Morgan said that books are backordered because the chosen text is unavailable and needs to be ordered.
“The bookstore asks that faculty members submit early so we can begin offering textbooks a couple weeks prior to the start of the term,” Morgan said. “Student books might be coming from a warehouse or even another bookstore to the JMU store for pickup.”
She said they usually notify customers of potential delays in confirmation emails, but eFollett experienced a technical problem that resulted in some students not receiving a late order notification.
“They didn’t say anything about a delay,” McMahan said. “It said online that it was in transit, and then it was weeks later before I got it.”
Morgan said the technological issue that caused the lack of notifications is now repaired.
“Unfortunately, some automated system emails were impacted this back-to-school season,” Morgan said. “This was an isolated issue.”
Morgan said looking ahead, eFollett will have a review to make necessary changes to refine the process.
Contact Kelsey Beckett at firstname.lastname@example.org.