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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UofA Bookstore basement remodeled to simplify shopping

Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Fraternities and sororities aren’t the only campus organizations to experience rush weeks. Starting last Monday until this Friday, the UofA Bookstore at the Student Union Memorial Center will experience its own “”rush”” as students and their parents prepare for the new semester. Over the summer the bookstore remodeled its basement floor in an attempt to simplify the hectic textbook-buying experience.

Visual changes include fewer bookshelves, new kiosks that feature brands and products supported by the bookstore and low-level lighting that transforms laptop screens into bug zappers.

Aside from cosmetic changes students can find some new features and services when they head downstairs. According to Kurtis Durfey, a marketing specialist for UofA Bookstores, one of the major additions was the relocation of the bookstore’s computer service center.

“”Several years ago, it was hidden in an office on the north side of the building. You had to go outside and around to come in. (The service center) has been growing with popularity as people become aware it exists,”” Durfey said. The service center is certified to offer warranty repairs to Apple, Dell, Lenovo and HP computers as well as non-warranty repairs for other brands. Durfey said relocating to the bookstore’s central location on campus would make the service center more convenient for students.

Next to the service center is a new area designated for Cox Communications. Representatives are on hand to offer Cox services to UA students and faculty.

The remodeled floor also features a larger presentation area, which is comprised of an elevated stage, a lectern and a projector with screen. The floor can also now accommodate up to 150 seats for presentations.  

Durfey said the presentation area has been used for orientation sessions throughout the summer, and for the bookstore’s upcoming grand reopening, vendors will be using it for demonstrations and presentations of their new products.

Some of the changes to the bookstore’s textbook services are not immediately obvious on the floor. Across from the stage is a temporary counter for students who preordered their textbooks online via UAccess or through the bookstore’s new partners, online retailer Amazon and Chegg, a national online provider of textbook rentals.

“”If you rent through Chegg via (the bookstore) website or one of our kiosks, then the student knows that that purchase will help be redistributed to organizations like ASUA, things like Tucson Festival of Books, student scholarships and a lot more,”” Durfey said. As two students browsed through the Chegg website on an iPad at a brand new Chegg kiosk, he said, “”We really encourage people to interact with the technology.””

Durfey also noted that a portion of the proceeds from Amazon sales will go to the bookstore when customers order through the bookstore’s website.

Next to the shelves of textbooks is the Espresso Book Machine, a print-on-demand machine housed within a clear case that can create and bind library-quality books in small quantities. “”This is really good for finding cost-effective solutions for low-run quantities. (If) instructors or professors want to provide their class notes in the form of a finished book, then we can use this as a solution,”” Durfey said.

Despite any new features, getting textbooks at the UofA Bookstore is not for the timid.

“”When you first get in there, it’s overwhelming because there’s a lot of people coming and going. But once you get in there and realize what’s going on, it wasn’t so bad,”” said Robert Kendall, father of physiology sophomore Megan Donohoe, about their bookstore experience last year.

“”I actually thought it was organized,”” said Sheila Donohoe, Megan’s mother. “”You just got in your line.”” Megan Donohoe had bought some of her books this year from Chegg and Amazon, but not through the bookstore’s website, and picked up the rest at the bookstore. Both Megan and her mother said they have not visited the bookstore since the remodeling.

As a retailing and consumer sciences senior, Nicole Scott said she enjoys going to stores and picking out the details of their layout.

“”I like the setup. It’s more spacious, but it’s also prettier … Previously it was more cluttered. All the walls were filled with books, so it looked depressing,”” Scott said.

Scott said this year she preordered her textbooks via the UAccess link to the bookstore. “”I just went downstairs and gave them my CatCard … I thought I was going to wait a long time, but it only took me probably five minutes.””

Some students opted to have their textbooks come to them instead of waiting in line at the UofA Bookstore.

This is the first semester Allie Morris purchased her books online. The undeclared junior said she purchased her books mainly through Amazon but not via the bookstore’s website, even after seeing the new partnership.

“”The bookstore is a great place to buy books. However, I can buy my books cheaper online — significantly cheaper,”” Morris said. She would Google a textbook’s ISBN number to find the vendors that had the lowest price. Even though the bookstore provides excellent service, Morris said price was the main factor for her buying decision.

Physiology sophomore Erica Holbrook used both Amazon and Half.com to buy her books. She said she chose Amazon because it is offering Amazon Prime membership, which provides free two-day shipping to students without charge.

“”I could have it shipped to my house and not have to go out of my way to the bookstore and plan out a two-hour block for me to buy all of my textbooks at once,”” Holbrook said.

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