The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Battling bookstores

In two months, when the Spring semester begins, the biggest, most tedious game St John’s has to offer will also start.

The age-old tradition of the campus-wide scavenger hunt to find books will send students into financial debt, and drive them into frenzied rushes. Ed’s, Follet, and online sites all become hot spots for a couple of weeks.

Being that the University has a bookstore on campus, it is a little odd that students should have to go to such great lengths to find other sources for books.

“The bookstore sells overly-priced materials” said junior Rolando Caraballo. “That’s why when the semester begins, I buy books from Barnes and Nobles in the city, or online.”

“We are doing our best to try and regain the students’ trust from the company that was here before,” added Denise Servidio, the manager of the campus bookstore. “We are doing a lot of things to try and win back the students including giveaways, and even scholarships. Last semester we gave away a $250 scholarship to a teacher to give to a student. We also have more used books than Ed’s. We are all for the students saving money.”

The campus bookstore was taken over from Barnes and Nobles by Follet in April 2004, and since then, a lot of initiatives have been introduced to make the book-buying experience more enjoyable for students. Despite their efforts, Ed’s seems to still have the upper hand.

“Ed’s seems to have more of what I need for each semester,” junior Nana Yeboah said,. “But Ed’s is too cramped for space, and waiting outside is not cool, especially when it is cold.”

Book orders go directly from the teacher to the bookstore. Not all professors feel the need to give orders to the campus bookstore, and that is especially troubling because of the fact that financial aid and StormCards can only be used on campus.

“I give my book orders to both the University Bookstore and Ed’s,” said Roger Wetherington, director of the journalism department. “I figure competition will spur both stores to serve their customers better.”

While Wetherington seems to have the right idea in mind, it seems that a lot of the books that are required for classes are still found over at Ed’s and not at the on-campus bookstore.

“Our bookstore has a lot of the required books because Ed is friends with a lot of the faculty,” said Mark Donlon, an employee of Ed’s for six years. “Plus, we feel that we give the students a more enjoyable experience.”

When it comes down to it, the fact that teachers know an owner should not force students to wait obscene amounts of time outside of a store on a never-ending line.

We should be able to spend our money on our StormCards, and our financial aid in the place that was initially designed for them.

Though Ed’s does have a lot of what students need, should it necessarily be that way? Perhaps the biggest problem lies in the fact that teachers may be playing favorites.

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