Geneseo bookstore encounters problems with online ordering system

Geneseo’s Barnes & Noble bookstore introduced a new online system called FacultyEnlight for this school year. The program is sponsored by Barnes & Noble and allows faculty to order their books online. During this process, certain students and faculty have had issues with communicating and receiving their books when using FacultyEnlight. Store manager Ashley Zaleppa spoke about the problems people have encountered.

“There’s been a few issues, but FacultyEnlight’s very new,” she said. “We just implemented it over the summer and we’ve only really been using it for six months now.”

According to the Barnes & Noble college regional manager for upstate New York Chris Sackett, part of the impetus for implementing FacultyEnlight was to promote awareness of textbook prices before registration.

“It adds transparency. With the older system, there was no way of knowing how much the cost was to the student because it was just the ISBN number. The faculty member may not have known that the publisher has increased prices over time,” Sackett said. “Now it allows the faculty member to make a better informed decision to help with the affordability initiatives.”

According to professor of sociology Steve Derne, multiple professors in the sociology department have had complications with book orders.

“In my department, two of us have had such severe problems and we feel it’s a very difficult situation,” he said.

“I will say that the bookstore has done a very good job of sorting everything out once the bookstore has lost books,” Derne added. “At the beginning of the term, they scrambled to make things happen, although it does end up costing the students a lot more money.”

English major freshman Dylan Piccione said she faced some difficulties in ordering books in two classes she had with Derne.

“I only found out about this required course reader a day before our first class when [the professor] mentioned it in an email thinking that we already knew what it was,” she said.  “I had to go all the way to Sundance to make sure that I got the right one.”

“He mentioned another book that we needed, but he also assumed that it was already on the list. Because the bookstore didn’t realize that he needed the book, they didn’t buy back any books from last year’s classes,” Piccione continued. “We had to buy this book brand new, since there were no used copies to buy, so it was more expensive.”

Derne addressed four problems he had seen with FacultyEnlight. “My main issue was that I submitted my book orders on April 21, but that book order was lost and never received,” he said. “The second issue is that we cannot communicate directly with students about alternative editions we want them to get. The third issue is that the bookstore doesn’t let us order books that have foreign ISBNs or that have out-of-print ISBNs. The fourth issue is that sometimes the bookstore has been [inadvertently] changing the orders.”

Due to the novelty of the FacultyEnlight website at Geneseo, Sackett did mention that there were areas in which the bookstore looked to improve.

“We know the old system had a lot of capability [for professors] to leave notes, so we’re working on solutions that would provide better communication to make sure that when we reach out again for book orders, we have everything that is wanted for the website,” Sackett said. “I think it’s a lot more about communication and since it’s new, we’re going to work on making sure that communication is ramped up.”

Derne said that while he had encountered issues with the system, FacultyEnlight is here to stay. “The bookstore has a contract for the next five and a half years, and there’s nothing we can do about it,” he said. “It would be great if we just had a system where we could communicate directly with the students to let them know what the books are and let them deal with it ... There may be other alternatives, but we don’t have those alternatives for five and a half years."