Valencia bookstore struggles to deliver books to its students

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Photo via Valencia Flickr

Valencia’s East campus bookstore.

André González Rodríguez, Copy Editor

In the midst of Valencia College students beginning their Fall semester, Valencia’s bookstore is struggling to deliver books to its students. Due to COVID-19 changing day-to-day — obligating general life changes — the bookstore has been forced to make drastic changes leading to slow deliveries and late response time.

Back in March, Valencia College was forced to go fully online which meant closing campuses and campus services such as the bookstore. The bookstore has been struggling with the abundance of orders from students, having over 11,000 orders during the summer with nearly doubling that at 19,000 just this far into this Fall semester. This has led to a lack of communication and a lag in their responses to many students.

As it stands, the bookstore does not have enough manpower as it only has eight to nine customer service workers for all campuses. The bookstore has also moved all of its operations from every campus into the West campus — allowing them to be more efficient with their orders and deliveries.

Students haven’t been receiving their books on time which is causing stress and worry over a possible bad start to their semesters.

“I have a teacher that is upset because we didn’t make an account for his lab class, but I don’t have my book so I can’t,” said Ana Noguiera Machado, a 31-year-old Marketing major.

The bookstore has been actively working on different ways to help students doing things such as working on extending free trial periods to websites and programs such as Pearson, Macmillan, and others — which are used as a tool for students’ courses. They have also been in communication with Executive Vice President and Provost, Kathleen Plinske, as well as each department and each department’s deans, making sure that students do not get penalized in their courses when they lack the resources they need.

For a lot of students, this is the first time they utilized the online bookstore.

“This was my first time using the online bookstore, all the guides they offered really helped make the process easier,” said Daniel Ramirez, a 19-year-old General studies major. “I was stressing out over having to use the store for the first time but it was fairly direct and easy.”

Valencia has added a variety of ways to help students navigate through it. Frequently asked questions and a video that explains how to acquire books for their courses have been key in that regard.

“This is not the service — I wish we didn’t have complaints. I wish students received their books very quickly, but I think people need to realize what happened that caused this,” Paul Rooney, Vice President of Operations said. “I assure you that we’re trying our very very best to deliver these books. I don’t want to blame COVID, but they put us in this spot.”

Valencia has also extended the deadline to return books to September 25, giving an extra week for students to return their books for the full-term. The quickest way to return books is to email the online email with the information required for the return, the bookstore will then send the return label back to the student making it quick and easy.

Come Spring, Valencia is working diligently on different ways to help students. The bookstore is looking at possibly having pick up locations — as they had planned for this Fall semester but COVID-19’s numbers changed that.

One bit of advice Mona Liza Colon, Director of Auxiliary Services and Campus Store Operations, gives to students is to order as early as they can. When contacting customer service, students should call either early in the morning or late in the afternoon.