This year, the UC Davis Bookstore decided to implement a 10 percent restocking fee for returned textbooks, much to the surprise of the student body.
Although other universities already have a similar fee, more of a warning would have been nice.
Not only did many students have to cough up the 10 percent upon returning books, but they also were not aware of the fee in the first place. When the transaction is completed and the receipt is stapled, there is no going back. Although the store displayed a few posters, a campuswide e-mail or a small flyer stapled to the receipt would have been helpful before students had to surrender part of their already-tight textbook budget.
There are three exceptions to the fee – cancelled courses, altered textbook requirements and SISWeb proof of a dropped class within seven days of dropping.
Students on waitlists, those who do not know if they will drop a class or who do not decide within the deadline, are out of luck. They are forced to take the fee’s risk or fall behind in their reading.
The bookstore is already expensive enough – even though the UCD Bookstore’s books are reportedly the least expensive in the UC system. With this new fee, students will be further deterred from doing their quarterly textbook shopping on campus. Many students anyway choose to purchase textbooks through other means, such as Amazon.com, where prices are usually cheaper.
The bookstore is understandably trying to minimize its expenses when it sends extra books back to publishers. But if more students turn away from the bookstore, the fee may or may not have a significant effect on the bookstore’s revenue.
In a cost analysis, it is unclear whether or not the bookstore is saving more with the fee than without it. Considering the amount the store may lose from student business, assessing the lost revenue compared to business before the fee would be appropriate.