Varney’s textbook list to be online this fall

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Varney’s Bookstore plans to have an online textbook listing for students available as soon as this summer.

Steve Levin, K-State Union Bookstore manager, said Varney’s officials are meeting with university legal council members to discuss privacy issues with an online textbook listing.

Two possible versions of the online textbook listing exist, Levin said. The first one would require students to sign into KATS and click on the corresponding semester. All courses and their required and suggested textbooks would then appear, Levin said.

If the first version violates university privacy policy, Levin said the second version would require students to enter their courses individually. Both versions would provide textbook titles, authors, ISBNs and editions, he said.

Varney’s spends about $100,000 each semester gathering textbook information from campus departments, Levin said. Factors in the cost include employee salaries, follow-up with department heads and computer software, he said.

Links to other book Web sites also will be available on the listing, Levin said. While some students choose to buy and sell their textbooks online, Varney’s also sells its used books online, he said.

“But students should know it’s a competitive market, and they should compare prices and convenience,” Levin said.

Since 2001, Varney’s has leased its locations in the K-State Student Union and Aggieville to K-State, making it the official bookstore of the university, Levin said.

Varney’s online textbook listing also will have a buyer beware warning for students who choose to buy their textbooks through other Web site, Levin said.

“It’s our hope that students will shop intelligently,” Levin said. “We’re hoping the benefit of this is that students are going to realize the value of their college bookstore and how much they care about them.”

Student Governing Association leaders led a recent effort for online textbook listing. During the 2006-07 Student Senate term, University Relations Committee members drafted an online textbook-listing proposal. Senate members referred a resolution supporting the proposal back to the University Relations Committee with a vote of 26-18-0 at the Feb. 22 Senate meeting.

At their March 1 meeting, University Relations Committee members changed their original proposal to increase accountability for professors, increase the buy-back cycle at Varney’s and lower textbook prices for students in the long run, according to a March 2 report in the Collegian.

Senate members passed the initial resolution in support of the online textbook listing at their March 8 meeting with a vote of 41-4-3.

Pat Bosco, dean of student life, said university administrators hope to have an online textbook listing implemented by the fall semester. Administrators already have had several discussions with Student Governing Association leaders and Varney’s Bookstore officials, he said.

“If not for our SGA leadership and the interest of our vendor, we would not have this new service to our students,” Bosco said. “It wasn’t Anderson Hall-driven. It was through the efforts of SGA leadership and the cooperative business leadership of Varney’s that’s going to make this happen.”

As part of the online textbook proposal, student and faculty informational campaigns will take place. The student campaign will include notifying students through the Collegian, KSDB-FM 91.9 and e-mails, as well as a booth in the Union about the online textbook information.

Molly Hamm, 2007-08 Student Senate University Relations Committee chair, said she wants to make sure the online textbook list is facilitated before beginning the student-centered awareness campaign.

The faculty informational campaign will notify faculty members of their role in the textbook buy-back process, textbook prices and the need for them to hand in their book orders as soon as possible, according to the proposal.

“As far as faculty goes, we can do an awareness campaign as soon as possible because the whole purpose of it is to let them know the importance of getting a textbook list in on time,” said Hamm, junior in English education.

Melissa Hildebrand, 2006-07 Student Senate University Relations chair, said she thinks new University Relations Committee members will enact all suggestions in the proposal. She said the informational campaign also will be integral in creating the online textbook list.

“I think as long as we are adaptive and as long as the committee is geared up, it will be a good campaign,” said Hildebrand, senior in agricultural communications and journalism.

In their academic accountability campaign prong, Student Body President Matt Wagner and Vice President Lydia Peele said they would create an online textbook listing.

Wagner, senior in management information systems, said he and Peele already have met with university administrators and technical support staffs who will put the online textbook system together.

“Hopefully by this fall, we should see something implemented that will allow students to view their courses and ISBNs online,” Wagner said.

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