Lowdown on the Bookstore

The contract between Riverside Community College District and Barnes & Noble states that new textbooks shall not exceed a profit margin to Barnes & Noble above 25 percent. An error with the profit margin of a custom packaged book on the national level with Barnes & Noble resulted in RCCD recieving in reimbursement $33,000.

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By David Morris

By David Morris

The contract between Riverside Community College District and Barnes & Noble states that new textbooks shall not exceed a profit margin to Barnes & Noble above 25 percent.

An error with the profit margin of a custom packaged book on the national level with Barnes & Noble resulted in RCCD recieving in reimbursement $33,000.

The textbook was custom packaged with a CD-ROM. The publisher naturally raised the cost of the custom package but Barnes & Noble was not authorized to raise the margin of the book which resulted in the student paying more.

The publishers determine the price of the book which accounts for 80 percent of the final cost of the book. And RCCD receives between 9-10 percent of all book revenue, according to Todd Murphy, Bookstore general manager.

“Buy-Back” starts the week before final week and ends during final week; it is designed to save the students money. Barnes & Noble and the Bookstore encourage instructors to reuse their textbooks for six to eight semesters to allow the students to use the most profitable textbook, the used textbook.

If the instructor is going to reuse their textbook, and not just another edition, then Barnes & Noble will pay not less than 50 percent of the publisher’s then current suggested retail price, according to the contract. The student’s responsibility then, is to keep their textbooks in reasonably good condition and sell them back so other students can benefit from a larger stock of used textbooks.

The selling price of those used textbooks can not exceed 75 percent of the new textbook retail selling price.

Barnes & Noble is supposed to make every possible effort to increase used book sales at the District’s campuses by retaining used books purchased at other campuses, and will purchase or acquire used books from other bookstores and companies if necessary.

Students and staff also receive fringe benefits at the bookstore. In agreement with the contract Barnes & Noble will provide faculty, staff and students of the District with a 10 percent discount on all merchandise available at the Bookstore, except for adopted textbooks, special orders, class and alumni rings, and computer software and hardware. Faculty, staff and students must present their I.D. cards at check out to obtain the discount.

According to the Associate Vice President of Student Services, Dr. Linda Lacy, RCCD is responding to the error of profit margin with Barnes & Noble by catching any further problems early. The Bookstore has hired an internal auditor to audit the bookstore and Barnes & Noble accounts directly to look for any other mistakes and see to it that it doesn’t happen again.

The $33,000 reimbursement from Barnes & Noble has currently been deposited straight into the college accounts and is being handled by the District Student Senate. A committee is being formed Ad Hoc to set the requirements and qualifications for a student loan with the money. The senate has so far decided that a mere scholarship would drain the account too fast, whereas a loan will give RCC students the capabilities to purchase their books when they need them and time to pay the loan off.

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