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Faculty FAQs

Q. How does the store price USED books on the shelves?
A. On titles bought for the store, students are given market value. We then resell the book for 75% of the retail price. (Example $100.00 retail textbook, student given $50.00-we resell the textbooks for $75.00). On used books ordered directly from the company, we do the same markup, so when buying a used book you will always get it for at least 25% off of the retail price.

Q. How are the requisition/adoption due dates determined?
A. The ordering process requires a minimum of at least 8 weeks due to several factors: The time involved in verifying and entering over 1500 titles each fall and spring semesters. Some smaller and governmental publishers can take up to 6 weeks to process and ship an order. Foreign publishers can take up to 12 weeks and many European publishers completely shut down during the months of August and December. The time involved in pricing and shelving over 50,000 individual books during the fall and spring semesters. In addition, there are several factors unique to each semester that plays a factor in determining the requisition/adoption due dates: Fall Semester - the due date is set in April to allow us to know which books are being used so that we can offer students the best price during the spring buyback. Also, our experience has shown that if we do not receive the order before the instructor goes on break, we generally do not receive that order until that instructor returns in August. Spring Semester-shipping times are longer in December due to extra volume created by Christmas. Also, many publishers shut down during the period between Christmas and New Year, which cause backups in order fulfillment. Now that the Maryland Legislature has enacted the Textook Competition and Affordability Act of 2009, the dates for having adoptions in to the bookstore have been predetermined by law. The law states that the University must post the faculty adoptions on it's website by May 1 (for the Fall Semester) and November 1 (for the Spring semester) so that students are informed and can start shopping around for their textbooks. View selected provisions of the Maryland 2009 Textbook Competition and Affordability Act.

Q. What is an ISBN number?
A. The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is used by publishers to identify a particular title or package. With the advent of packages, the same core title could have dozens of different ISBNs associated with it. Additionally, most orders with larger publishers are now placed electronically with the only information that they receive being the quantity and ISBN. These developments combine to make it even more imperative that the correct ISBN be used when ordering your books to insure that the correct product arrives.

Q. What happens if there is a problem with an ordered book?
A. If a book is out of stock, not yet published, or out of print, the publisher will notify us by mail and we will notify the department by email or campus mail. On occasion, publishers will not notify us and we will not find out about problems until the order arrives or until we call the publisher to check on the status of the order.

Q. Why is the bookstore unable to obtain desk copies for the departments?
A. Publishers will not ship desk copies to the bookstore. The main reason is that it allows the publisher to better determine the validity of the request and enables the publisher to create a database of which faculty members are using a title to be able to keep them informed about supplemental materials related to that text and to advise them of new editions pending. Additionally, some publishers fear that if they send desk copies to the bookstore that they will end up on the retail shelves instead of with the instructor.

Q. Why must all orders, reorders, and changes to orders be made in writing?
A. This is to help reduce any chances of miscommunication and to protect both parties by having a hard copy of the order. To make things as easy as possible, we have four ways of submitting orders: via campus mail
via fax (301-687-7041)
via online requisitions (https://bookstore.frostburg.edu)
via email (bookstore@frostburg.edu)

Q. Why don't you have used copies on all books?
A. Certain disciplines and many upper division classes tend to have a smaller pool of used books available due to the fact that students hold on to them as they are likely to refer to them in their professional careers. Also, new editions or recently published books are not old enough for copies to have filtered into the used book market.

Q. What is the difference between out of stock with no due date and out of stock indefinitely?
A. Out of stock with no due date means that the publisher has run out of copies of the book but feels that demand is not strong enough to warrant reprinting at this time. For example, a publisher prints 1000 copies of a particular title. They then get orders for 1100 copies. They will fill orders for the first 1000 and then backorder (hold) the orders for the other 100. The reason that the publisher does not immediately produce more copies is that they know they will get returns from the 1000 that were shipped. So if they estimate that 200 of the 1000 will be returned, they will not begin to think about reprinting until the backorders come close to or exceed 200 depending on how strong the demand is. They will be quicker to reprint a book that takes only 4 weeks to generate 200 backorders as opposed to one that takes 4 months. In the meantime, as they receive returns back from stores, they will use that stock to fill outstanding orders. Out of stock indefinitely means that the publisher has run out of copies of the book but is not considering reprinting. In many publishing contracts, the copyright reverts back to the author after a book is declared out of print. Out of stock indefinitely allows the publisher to keep the copyright and yet lets stores know that the book is no longer available.

Q. Why does the bookstore need to send back the unsold course books to the publisher at the end of the semester?
A. Actually, the bookstore only sends back those titles, which have not been readopted for the next term. This is one reason why it is so important to submit book orders on time. We do this for several reasons. One, we do not have the physical space necessary to store all of those books. Two, we only have a limited window in which to send books back to the publisher. If we miss the window and the book goes out of print or comes out in a new edition, the held stock would represent a substantial financial liability to the University. We must often pay the publisher for the books before the semester starts. To do this the University must use funds allocated for other purposes. These funds are then paid back through the revenue generated by the book sales. Therefore, the books left over at the end of the semester represent a huge financial liability to the University. If the books are not readopted then we could not expect sales in the near future to offset the cost of the inventory. Returning the unsold books to the publisher frees up the funds necessary to make future orders.

Q. What is the Textbook Competition and Affordability Act?
A. COLLEGE TEXTBOOK COMPETITION AND AFFORDABILITY ACT OF 2009 The State of Maryland's College Textbook Competition and Affordability Act of 2009 has as its purposes to establish practices in higher education institutions in the State in which textbook selection reflects consideration of textbook prices and ways to reduce costs to students, that posts textbook decisions in a timely manner to help students in obtaining assigned books at the least cost, and promotes competition. The statute notes that textbook prices increased by more than twice the increase in overall inflation in the period 1986-2004. Faculty members are required to acknowledge understanding and consideration of the law before selecting a college textbook.

Selected Provisions in the Statute:

Best Practices:
Section (1)(C)(3). Each public institution of higher education in the State shall develop and implement a best-practices process for faculty in selecting college textbooks and supplemental material that:

I. ensures early adoption of college textbooks and supplemental material;
II. encourages the maximum usage of used college textbooks and of previous editions of college textbooks, when possible;
III. for undergraduate college textbooks, ensures that the majority of the assigned material will be used in the course unless it would be in the student's financial interest to purchase separate materials; and
IV. ensures that faculty are aware of various outlets for the supply of college textbooks and supplemental material.

Requirements for Publishers:
Section (1)(E)(1). A publisher that sells college textbooks or supplemental material and provides information regarding a college textbook or supplemental material to a faculty member, other adopting entity in charge of selecting course materials, or the administration of an institution of higher education shall disclose with this information, in writing, by paper or electronic means:

I. the price of the college textbook or supplemental material;
II. the title, author, publisher, edition, current and three previous copyright dates, publication date when available, and ISBN of the college textbook and supplemental material, both as bundled and unbundled items;
III. substantial content revisions made between the current edition of the college textbook or supplemental material and the previous edition of the college textbook or supplemental material;
IV. other available formats for the college textbook or supplemental material such as paperback or unbound; and
V. a list of textbooks that are classified as integrated textbooks.

Faculty Acknowledgment:
Section (1)(D)(2). Before selecting a college textbook or supplemental material and before transmitting the selection to a campus bookstore, providing the selection to any other bookstore, or posting the selection on the website of the public institution of higher education, a faculty member shall acknowledge:
I(1). If selecting a different college textbook from a different publisher, the cost of the new selection versus the cost of the previous selection; or
I(2). If selecting a current edition of a college textbook,
A. the differences in substantial content between the current edition of the textbook and the previous edition of the textbook as reported by the publisher under subsection (E) of this section;
B. that the use of the current edition is appropriate due to a material change in substantial content between the current edition and the previous edition;
C. the difference in price between the current edition of the textbook and the previous edition of the textbook; and
D. that the previous edition of the textbook may be available to students at a lower price via the used book market.
II. That an integrated textbook is not subjection to subsection (F)(3) of this section; and
III. That supplemental material included in a bundle is intended for use in the course.

Section (1)(E)(2). Faculty members acknowledge having been informed about the disclosures required of publishers under section (1)(E)(1) and the impact that the high cost of college textbooks and supplemental material has on students. (See Requirements for Publishers, previous page.)

Academic Freedom:
Section (1)(I). This section (referring to all of Section 1 of the statute) may not be construed to supersede the institutional autonomy or academic freedom of faculty members involved in the selection of college textbooks and supplemental material.

Definitions in the Statute: Section (1)(A). "Supplemental material" means educational material developed to accompany a college textbook that is not being used as a component of an integrated textbook. "Supplemental material" includes printed materials and electronic materials such as computer disks and web access codes. "Bundle" means one or more college textbooks or other supplemental material that are packaged together to be sold as course materials for one price. "Integrated textbook" means a college textbook that is combined with materials developed by a third party and that, by third-party contractual agreement, may not be offered by publishers separately from the college textbook with which the materials are combined; or other materials that are so interrelated with the content of the college textbook that the separation of the college textbook from the other materials would render the college textbook unusable for its intended purpose.