Perspective: KU Campus Store Launches Outreach Initiative

By Mike Downing
Advisor to The Keystone

As many of you know, my wife, Jackie, who has worked with the bookstore in a variety of capacities for approximately ten years, is now working with the KU Campus Store on a consulting basis to open lines of communication to help the store become more integrated with the greater campus community, synchronizing efforts to meet the needs to students and faculty.

Therefore, as a way of taking reasonable action, I ask that you embrace this outreach program. The thrust of it is education, communication, and coordination. The priority is serving students.

There is much to communicate about. For example, as I was putting this article together, here’s what I learned:

1) Studies show that students who have books in their hands on the first day of class are more likely to complete that class successfully. Therefore, the more we can do to get those books into their hands sooner rather than later, the better.

2) It is important for us as faculty to get a handle on the number of books we order, as well as the costs. Beside the often enormous costs, one primary reason students don’t buy the books for the first day of class is because they hear from older siblings and friends that they do not need to buy books right away because professors don’t always use them in the class They’ve learned to game the system.

3) As profs, we shouldn’t encourage students to purchase books from off-campus sources. I ask this not only, of course, from a competitive standpoint, but for other legitimate reasons: Often, books from third parties don’t always include the proper access codes and ancillary materials that professors are counting on in the classroom. In addition, the store will provide the lowest price possible and consistently make it easy for students to return materials. Keep student money on campus so that it can be used again, on campus.

4) There exists a federal law that says students must know the complete costs of all their books before signing up for any course. That means book orders are, by law, due at a certain point in the previous semester. I had no idea.

Fliers have been distributed into campus mailboxes, illustrating how ordering books on time helps students and an educational video has been created.

Jackie will be following up on those efforts. Contact her at



Categories: Freeform, Uncategorized

1 reply »

  1. This would be helpful if the campus store did offer books at their most competitive prices. However, students are obviously finding cheaper copies from places such as Chegg and Amazon. One book I required for a class, Warrant: The Current Debate by Alvin Plantinga, is $71 in the book store with no used copies. I can find it new on Amazon for $35. Additionally, professors should be able to recommend buying the books from any retailer they find reasonable, assuming they’ve done the research and know the source is credible and has all the required materials. This could be dealt with using the price matching system on the website, however it is not available the entire semester. Some students have to purchase their textbooks incrementally in order to stay afloat.