“Use Textbook Selection to Build Relationships, Remind Faculty of Other Resources” by Jennifer Roland originally appeared on Edcetera.
You and the faculty at your school play an important role in keeping college affordable for your students. One of the most volatile college costs can be textbooks, so it is up to you to help instructors find the best quality texts at the best price.
How can you do that? A combination of technology tools and in-person events can work to build the feeling of partnership as you and your faculty work together to reduce college costs.
Subject-Specific Textbook Review Sessions
Because faculty spend so much time on campus, they almost forget the college store is there. Schedule a series of subject-specific sessions to get professors together in your store to discuss current and new textbooks for their courses.
Host discussion groups where professors who teach in the same department — or who teach different sections of the same course — visit the store and use some of your conference space to go over new textbooks and see what serves their students’ needs at the lowest cost.
Create your own comparison tools that show the cost of each book and the pros and cons as identified in the review sessions. Or check to see if your textbook purchasing and rental partner offers such a tool. (Rafter does have a cloud-based textbook comparison tool that you and your faculty can use to review textbooks. If you are a Rafter client and you haven’t used it yet, ask your account manager for help.)
If you are creating your own tool, use the campus Intranet to share it so professors can access it when it makes sense for them.
Early Adoption Incentives
Offer instructors who choose their textbooks by a certain date store gift certificates to redeem for purchases. The University of Arizona bookstore offers them by department to help instructors work together and get classified staff involved in ensuring that the early order deadlines are met.
You can ensure that faculty visit the store by allowing the certificates to be redeemed in-store only.
Set the dates based on your ordering schedule so that you receive the best prices for the textbooks ordered, and set the incentive level to balance the goal of providing solid incentives for faculty and staff, saving the store money, and allowing you to provide the best prices to students and compensate for your price-matching policy.
These three tactics will help not only build stronger partnerships between your staff and your school’s faculty but also get faculty in the store to remind them of all the great products you offer.