Book purchases simplified
The UH Bookstore and PeopleSoft collaborated on a service that allows students to view and purchase books as they enroll for classes.
Starting this summer, students will have the option of visiting the UH Bookstore Web site via PeopleSoft by clicking the ‘Your Campus Textbook’ button at the bottom of the ‘My Class Schedule’ list.’
‘What this program is set up to do is to make the process seamless,’ UH Bookstore general manager Felix Robinson said. ‘Instead of the student having to key in all their class information from their schedule while they are enrolling, . . . (PeopleSoft) will just pull their classes and match those classes with the required textbooks.”
Integrating enrollment and textbook purchase has been an ongoing goal for the UH Bookstore advisory committee for almost two years, former Student Government Association President Sam Dike said.
The committee based the project on its expectation for parent bookstore Barnes and Noble to improve its services to the students.
‘The University has a partnership with Barnes and Noble College Booksellers to operate its bookstore,’ Auxiliary customer service coordinator Maria Honey said. ‘Part of our expectation of Barnes and Noble is to continue to offer new technology that better serves our campus community.
‘By implementing registration integration, we should be able to enhance the service already offered and make the textbook purchase experience much more convenient for UH students.’
Students have been able to purchase their books through the UH Bookstore Web site for years. PeopleSoft has simplified the process further by giving students a book list tailored to the classes for which they register.’
‘The new program will automatically pull all the course’s information and populate the required books for the student’s classes, ‘ Honey said.
What the program won’t do, Honey said, is add any charges for books students want to purchase.
‘All textbook transactions will be processed on the UH Bookstore Web site, not PeopleSoft,’ she said.
SGA President Kenneth Fomunung supports the program and said it is the University’s way of moving toward the future.
‘I think this is a phenomenal idea,’ Fomunung said. ‘With just about everything moving online for the sake of convenience, I don’t see why the UH Bookstore wouldn’t indulge.’
The project aims to reduce lines in the bookstore and increase student’s ability to order used books.
‘The clear benefits of this project are that students can better estimate the total cost of enrolling in a class, since the textbook information includes the price. If the cost is too great, the student can choose not to enroll,’ Dike said.’
Fomunung said the service would also benefit bookstore employees.
‘If we make things easier on (bookstore employees), then we’d be doing all parties involved a great service,’ he said. ‘The bookstore – especially in the beginning of the semester – usually features long lines reminiscent of a high school cafeteria lunch hour. You can definitely see just how practical this new application is.’
Despite the program’s practicality, students can’t order books for a class if the book selection is not listed.
This semester, approximately 19 percent of professors turned in book orders to the bookstore before the March deadline.
‘For this new system to be successful, our professors will have to submit their textbooks orders to the bookstore in a timely manner,’ Dike said. ‘There are some departments that are really good about submitting their textbooks order list on time, but others that are not.’
Robinson agrees that punctual book orders are imperative for the program to succeed, but said the program can help students save time even without the book lists, because they will know which books are not available and won’t waste time trying to find them at the bookstore.
‘Yes, faculty members turning in their orders is key for the system to really serve the students well,’ Robinson said, ‘but at least you will know before you walk over here.’
Students who use the service can choose to buy new or used books and can chose to have the books delivered to the bookstore or delivered to their homes for an additional shipping fee.
If students drop a course after placing orders, students must go to the bookstore immediately because the system already processed the order. If the order is not cancelled students could be charged.
‘This program is much more than an average link,’ Dike said. ‘It essentially connects you and the enrolled courses and directs you to the textbook for that course. You can do it all in one motion – sign up for classes, order books and log out.’