Students, UMKC Bookstore struggle with getting textbooks

Brenden Hill

Textbooks—every student needs them at some point, even if they don’t like them. They’re not only not the most exciting read, but are also expensive. However, for some UMKC students,  their textbooks aren’t even available when they need them.

Students are supposed to be able to purchase the textbooks they need at the UMKC Bookstore, which is located in the Student Union and at Hospital Hill. However, despite their efforts, not all students have been able to get the books they need.

“Half my French class couldn’t get the required reading because the bookstore didn’t order enough,” said Mia Lukic, a freshman philosophy student.

Lukic isn’t alone in this problem.

“For a few different classes I have had in the past I had some issues with getting my textbooks,” said Jason Bell, a political science senior. “I was able to get what I needed in the end, but it was annoying to deal with.”

These students all point to having a similar problem with the bookstore.

Pete Eisentrager, the assistant director of the UMKC Bookstore, is aware of these problems and spoke on the difficulties the bookstore has in getting the textbooks that are needed in the first place.

Eisentrager says ordering textbooks is a “multifaceted process, and it is important to receive an order from faculty or teachers in a timely fashion.”

For many classes, the orders for textbooks don’t come in at the correct times.

“We probably don’t have around 25% of orders turned in at around a month before classes,” Eisentrager said. 

This causes delays, and Eisentrager says it takes around 20 days before a semester starts to get new books if they have to order them. The bookstore tries to use books returned from students and orders used books before they buy new to cut costs, but they often will have to buy some new.

To combat this problem, as well as to deal with the costs of textbooks, Eisentrager says the bookstore is making sure more students have digital options for textbooks. Currently, 250 to 270 titles have digital copies available.

Eisnetrager says the process isn’t perfect when it comes to making sure the bookstore gets the textbook requests, as there is “no overarching authority for these requests.” He hopes to change that and is trying to talk to university leadership about being more proactive with the issue.

For now, if any students do have problems getting books, they can make a special order to ensure they get what they need for their classes. 

“This is your guys’ bookstore,” Eisentrager said. “We are here for students.”

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