Bookstore working to keep up with orders

Elizabeth McLaurin, Staff Writer

The Los Medanos College campus Bookstore has received a heavy influx of online orders from students over the past couple weeks. Although Bookstore staff encouraged students to order early, many waited until the week before the start of the semester to do so.

The day before the semester started, the Bookstore received 1,630 online orders. Since then, an additional 1,700 orders have been placed.

“It is fairly typical for students to wait until classes start to get their textbooks. Sometimes they want to attend the first day of class to judge whether they really need the book or they might be waiting for their financial aid disbursement,” said Robert Estrada, LMC’s Bookstore Manager.

After LMC decided to move classes online for the fall semester and temporarily shutter campus buildings, Estrada had to plan and adapt how the Bookstore would process orders and best serve the students safely. This semester will be the first time the Bookstore is not physically open to students.

Moving the purchasing of textbook and school supplies exclusively online wasn’t the only thing to change, as the potential risk of COVID-19 exposure also meant fewer staff members would be able to fulfill orders within the Bookstore at any one time. These two factors have significantly contributed to the slower speed of orders being fulfilled.

“We currently have three permanent Bookstore employees and we have received well over 3,000 online orders. We normally would have hired numerous temporary staff as well as about two dozen student workers to assist us during the first few weeks of the semester, but those options were not available to us due to COVID-19 safety protocols and budget concerns,” said Estrada.

It takes approximately two days to fully process an order, but the Bookstore staff have been working diligently to fulfill orders as quickly as possible. Students also have the option to pick up their books or have them shipped.

“I recommend that students who are placing orders now choose window pick up if they can and they need their order sooner than later, that is the faster option,” said Estrada.

While there are no plans to physically open the Bookstore this semester, Estrada and LMC Administration have had discussions about when it might be safe to reopen to the public, and specifically, what safety measures would need to be put into place.

“For the Bookstore, that would mean some of the things we are already doing while offering limited time, first few weeks of the semester only, window pick-up of online orders, and that includes facemask requirements, 6-foot physical distancing, the plastic sneeze guards you see nowadays at most registers, and a rigorous cleaning schedule,” said Estrada.

For anyone looking to order textbooks or supplies, it can be done online at the Bookstore website, and those experiencing any issues with their order or have any questions, the Bookstore can be contacted at [email protected].