York University Annual Arbour Day
Sponsored by the York University Bookstore from proceeds of the five-cent charge for plastic shopping bags, this year's event took place on Friday October 28th from 1 to 3pm. Volunteers met at the east end of the campus just past the busway on York Blvd. A large group of Bookstore employees - see the picture - took part in this year's planting.
"The Bookstore is pleased to sponsor York's Arbour Day with the funds collected from plastic bags," said Steve Glassman, Director of the Bookstore and Printing Services. "The planting will improve our local environment, both for water and soil conservation as well as improving air quality."
FREE BOOKS - e-book format
In an effort to make books more affordable, the York Bookstore along with a group of 22 other campus bookstores across Canada, has developed its own Campus e-Bookstore. All books currently on the site are free access, although there is a checkout system installed. Please visit our growing collection of free books at:
Bookstore fights to make books more affordable
According to the US General Accounting Office report to the US congress, the price of textbooks has risen by 6% a year over the last two decades - twice the average rate of inflation (CPI). The escalating costs place a huge burden on our students, and the York Bookstore is increasing its efforts to provide alternatives.
A bit of background about the textbook market:
- The best option is used books. When we buy for our own store, we are buying books needed for the current term. The York University Bookstore runs its buyback year round. When the Bookstore is buying for its own store shelves, the student gets the best price, usually 50% of the current retail price for the book. Similarly, the cost of buying a used book is 75% of new. If a student happens to time things correctly, you pay 75%, get back 50%, for a net cost of 25% of the new sticker price.
- The used book marketplace is extremely well organized. If the bookstore does not currently need a particular book, we connect to over 20 major Canadian campus bookstores to see if it is needed by them. If the book is not on any ‘want list’, our internet based marketplace searches US wholesalers to see if there is any demand. Our price to students is then based on reselling and shipping books to these two groups of buyers.
- The problem is in the definition of “need”. We need a book when a professor or course director has alerted the bookstore of text requirements for next term. Although early deadlines are set, over ¾ of our ‘book adoptions’ occur after our deadline and close to the beginning of each term. The value of the used book after exams finish is therefore quite low, because we are not sure what our “needs” will be for several months. Consequently, if the book is being presented for sale at the end of the term, we might only be able to offer very small amounts (insulting amounts) based on the US wholesale price. We also suggest that students try to wait, or sell privately, using our free bulletin board, www.sellmytextbooks.ca
- Many books are “bundled”, or shrink wrapped with other materials, such as workbooks, Access codes, and CDs. These add greatly to the cost of the course materials, although it is understood that these tools may be essential tools for the students’ success in the course. (In small defense of the publishers, the cost of the bundle is less than the price of buying each item individually.) Publishers also produce revisions to editions. These bundles and frequent revisions frustrate and hurt the used book marketplace.
- Custom books and course kits are developed so that students can get the relevant chapters from many sources, without having to buy many books. Yet the cost of royalties has become quite high, and may be 70% of the cost of the kit, which makes the economic proposition of the course kit less attractive.
- e-books and on-line materials are often considered a good method of reducing prices. Yet publishers often program e-books to self destruct after 6 months, and may block printing of sections, even of your own marginal notes. Further, the cost of the e-book is not priced as low as expected- they are often 60 to 90% of the print version, although interesting developments are happening on the open access (free) side. Side note on the word ‘free’. It is imperative to note that digitizing copyrighted material followed by free distribution, it is not legal as it violates copyright law.
Some of the York Bookstore responses:
- The Bookstore has begun to purchase used books from US wholesalers earlier than normal- on the chance that they will be adopted for the next term. In other words, it is purchasing books that may not be needed. As a result, our shelf supply of used books has dramatically increased. In the case of US wholesalers, these books can be returned (within strict limits) if not required.
- In September 2009, the Bookstore began to experiment with a “Guaranteed Buy-Back program” (GBB). Titles have been identified as GBB, and students are guaranteed a buy back between November 1 2009 and June 30 2010. Therefore, before the books are re-adopted, students can sell the books, and a premium 57% is being offered. This means that the net cost of the book is 43% of new for students who sell back their books at the end of exams. The GBB for used books is 50%, so that the net cost to the student will be 25% of new. If the response is positive, the GBB experiment will expand into a permanent program. (See student page for details on GBB for 2009)
- The bookstore now sells e-books along with Access codes, and these can be purchased in store and through the bookstore web site.
- The bookstore will be making about 100 titles available free through its website, electronic versions downloadable and printable. Out-of-print books are being reproduced at low cost through the university’s print-on-demand printing service. Print-on-demand save the cost of freight, warehousing, and the waste of over ordering. Like course kits, print-on-demand titles are normally available in 24 to 48 hours.
- The bookstore is reaching out to students and faculty for advice, and critically, for early and multi-year adoptions of books. If interested in finding out how you can help, contact Steve Glassman firstname.lastname@example.org
The York Bookstore is a unit of the University, and is not a private, for profit concern. If there are any proceeds beyond covering costs, the funds are returned to the university treasury to fulfill its academic and research mission. The Bookstore is here to serve the community of students, faculty and staff.
BPA Free Zone
The Bookstore has removed any water bottles and plastic mugs that may contain BPA from its shelves - May 2008
Recent reports in the media have led retailers to voluntarily withdraw plastic water bottles and other products. Health Canada has determined that the use of BPA in baby bottles may pose a threat and as a result, Canada is the first country to ban its use. This action was deemed to be cautionary.
Health Canada did not issue any warnings about the exposure of the general population to this chemical.
Despite not being aware of any specific threat posed from BPA leaching from sports bottles, and despite studies suggesting that there is no health threat, we are being cautious in removing any plastic bottles containing BPA from our shelves.
We offer alternative bottles and mugs that do not contain BPA (Bisphenol-a).
For more information on BPA, visit the government website www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ahc-asc/media/nr-cp/2008/2008_59_e.html
The Bookstore will continue to monitor this issue and place the safety of our customers as our top priority.
Textbook Tax Credit Eligibility - 2009-10
A note about tax credits in Ontario. Refer to the following websites for information. The key point is proof of purchase, or book receipts, are not required for these tax credits for textbooks.
The site states:
"Post-secondary students will benefit from a new non-refundable tax credit for textbooks that will take effect for the 2007 taxation year. The amount on which the credit is based will be calculated as:
Proof that textbooks have actually been purchased is not required."
- $65 for each month the student qualifies for the full-time education amount: and
- $20 for each month the student qualifies for the part-time education amount.
There is no need to provide duplicate book sales receipts in order for students to receive their textbook credit. Students reeive a T2202 which provides all the required information for the individual to prepare their taxes. The tax form takes care of the actual credit.
Consult the Canada Revenue Agency website or a tax professional for more information on other tax credits, deductions, and benefits to post secondary students
The Bookstore Responds to the Strong Loonie - January 2008
York Bookstore announces its response to and a celebration of the rise in our Canadian currency.
While the rise in the Canadian Dollar has created hardship for manufacturers and exporters, it has signaled an opportunity for consumers to get a price break on imported goods. Most books show US and Canadian prices, and the discrepancy can often seem unfair. The bookstore wants to celebrate the rise in our Loonie by immediately passing on savings to our consumers!
What we are doing to lower book prices?
Why aren't Canadian books on par or less than the US price now the Loonie has soared?
- When we import, we are able to apply the current exchange rate. With the Loonie well over parity, we look forward to stickering some of our direct imports at parity, or even at prices less than the US list price.
- Retailers and wholesalers have inventories purchased at higher prices - it takes time to clear the higher priced inventories.
- Most of our books must be purchased from a Canadian publisher or distributor. They have exclusive rights to wholesale books to booksellers in Canada. Often these are Canadian branches of US or European parent publishers. We are delighted to pass any savings and improved prices to our community.
- We do not profit from a strengthened dollar - we pass on any savings to our customers.
- Canadian distributors price books based on prevailing exchange rates. Because books have preprinted cover prices, the Canadian publisher may add a percentage on top of the conversion to allow for rate fluctuations over the life of a print run and to cover the costs of their freight and brokerage charges. Provisions of the Canadian Parallel Importations Regulations govern how exclusive publisher/distributors must behave.
- Canadian booksellers, and Campus stores including yours, have pressured Canadian publishers/distributors to lower prices. We do not want to see a price differential between Canadian and US Books. Many publishers have agreed to price imports at par, and some are re-pricing on a frequent basis in a very responsive manner to this unprecedented situation.
What are we doing.
- Working with publishers on a case by case basis we will re-price any text books whenever a "price victory" is gained! We have changed our text department to the use of shelf tags with today's retail pricing - instead of restickering books as the prices drop. During a term, if a publisher decreases prices, or if we are able to import at a better price, we will drop prices even if we have some higher priced inventory. We will not increase prices of existing text inventory if repurchased at a higher rate.
- We will continue to battle for price parity from publishers.
What can you expect from the York Bookstore in the future?
- Continued efforts to close the price gaps.
- Continued efforts to reduce prices.
- We will continue to monitor industry developments in hope of making books more affordable on a permanent basis!
- Promotions to narrow the gap. We aim to be your favorite bookstore and serve the needs of our community.
- We will pass on your opinions to publishers and industry advocacy groups. Please share your opinions by writing to email@example.com; or by visiting us. We promise to make your voices heard.
The York University Bookstore is a self-funded operation. We generally price books based on publishers' list prices. After covering the costs of operation (labour, rent, repairs, etc), excess funds are used by the university for scholarships, student programs, and to benefit the campus.