Freshmen have a taste of textbook woes

Some students had to form study groups to share books or purchase ebooks.

Ian Taylor

When students in Dan DahlbergâÄòs introductory-level honors physics course went to purchase their textbooks at the University of Minnesota Bookstores, they found empty shelves.

The bookâÄôs publisher, Macmillan Publishing Solutions, failed to provide enough printed copies on time, forcing students âÄî mostly freshmen âÄî to either share or settle for an online version.

âÄúThere was a difficulty for some people, because they had never bought something online before,âÄù said Ankan Ganguly, a student in the course.

The textbook for the course came as a package of a printed textbook and an access code for the online version. The publishing company had 50 such packages available, but had to update the access codes before sending the remaining packages, said Bob Crabb, director of University Bookstores.

The bookstores have dealt with similar issues previously, Crabb said, but overall itâÄôs not a frequent problem.

Isaac Urbanski said only three or four books were left when he visited the store two weeks before classes began.

Because most students purchase books the first week of classes, bookstore management wasnâÄôt aware of the shortage until most of the students arrived on campus, Crabb said.

Urbanski said that although he was willing to, he has not had to share his textbook because most of the students used the online source.

Others formed study groups, Ganguly said.

Dahlberg wrote in an email that since most of the students live in the dorms, there didnâÄôt seem to be a problem and no students had complained.