Bookstores Prepare for Fall Rush

Posted: August 6, 2001 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Editor’s Note: This is the second feature story of an eight-article series detailing services that do not receive much publicity, but are used every day by many faculty and staff members at George Mason.

By Robin Herron

When the back-to-school crowd arrives on the George Mason campuses, Jack Smith, general manager of the bookstores, will be ready.

Based on last fall’s figures, he says, the Fairfax and Prince William Bookstores will serve more than 17,750 customers the first week that classes resume. The busiest day of that week will probably be Tuesday, when some 15,000 items–books and other merchandise–will be sold. To prepare, Smith says, he will hire 30-40 part-time staffers for each bookstore to handle the crush. The Arlington Campus Bookstore is busy most of August because programs start at different times throughout the month.

Jack Smith is ready for the 2001-02 year.

Smith hopes that the new textbook reservation process started last fall, which allows students to place their orders and simply pick them up, will have even more takers this year. “Last year we filled 760 orders and had a 96 percent pick-up rate,” he says. “Already we have 600 and hope to break 1,000 [orders.]”

Smith commends faculty for turning in their textbook orders, which were due in April, on time, but notes there is room for improvement. As of July, 73 percent of faculty members had placed their orders. “But that’s much improved–last year it was only 55 percent,” he says. The bookstore begins rounding up textbooks immediately from various sources to get as many used books as possible, but places orders with publishers in July, Smith notes. To ensure that texts are available for their classes, faculty members should place their orders as soon as possible.

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