Barbara Farrell has been the key ingredient to the success of Fairfield University’s bookstore for the past 14 years. She has been a bookstore manager for Follett over the past 35 years. She comes into the office for the 9 a.m. opening and leaves at 5:30 p.m., although some days she works arduous hours up until 8:30p.m.
TM: Describe a typical day…
BF: Every day is different; I never know what will be asked of me or my staff because the faculty and students always have different needs each day.
TM: What is the percent of titles available for the students to rent?
BF: Currently the title use is 37%. On average that is pretty good because it is very new to Fairfield. As we move forward we will expand with titles each semester.
TM: Since you have been working here for 14 years I am sure that you have pet peeves that students continue to do, what are they?
BF: They don’t know what we do! Possibly because it could be poorly publicized, but we buy back books every single day that we are open. Our main value is customer service, that’s what I think that we do best. If students buy a packaged book that is wrapped, only open it if you are certain that you will be keeping it for the class. There are no refunds for books that were originally wrapped. I also wish that the students would please keep their receipts for returns!
TM: Any tips on how students can prevent their books from being stolen?
BF: I always try to hint to kids how to be safe with that. If the students identify their books in a unique way they could lessen their chances. They should pick a page number in every book that they own and write a certain word somewhere that if special to them, rather than simply write their name on the first page since that can easily be crossed out by someone.
TM: Why did Fairfield decided to make this the first year of using the Rent-A-Text process?
BF: Mainly because we are responding to the market. Follett is currently piloting it in over 20
stores. We wanted to make sure that we had the process down before bringing it to Fairfield. This process can be complicated with transmissions and capturing information, however,
we are anxious to finally provide this service.
TM: Approximately how much have the students saved, as a whole, by using Rent-A-Text?
BF: As of last week Thursday we save students over
$120, 000 by offering text rental.
TM: What is your biggest concern with Rent-a-Text?
BF: The major concern is that students will not bring books back on December 18! They need to realize that they will have to pay 75% of new the book’s new price and then an additional 7.5% penalty..That’s one expensive book!
TM : Will Fairfield definitely continue to use this process for the upcoming year?
BF: This process of renting will not go away, why would it? We hope to expand the amount of titles that can be rented. If a student’s book has a lifespan of four semesters, it’s a good deal. Renting is a great deal. However, if it is a book that is an over one semester course, that would not be a good deal. You would have to pay more and you aren’t going to own it so there’s no buy back.
TM: Why can only certain books be rented?
BF: It is predicated on the life of a text and whether it is going into an out of print edition. Also, the book has to be at least $14.95. Also, if books carry an access code, are packaged at the store, or are lab books, students can only buy these books.
TM: Why should Fairfield students shop at the bookstore?
BF: If a professor changes his/her mind, we are right here to get you what you need efficiently and promptly. If there’s a missing page or you find something of profanity written in your book you can absolutely bring it back for a new one. We are here to make things go smoothly for the students and faculty at Fairfield. We listen, understand and we can help quickly!
TM: Thank you!