New semester, no books
Bookshelf at the New College of Florida and the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee campus bookstore. Photo by Emma Iverson

New semester, no books

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As each semester begins, among the many stressors for college students is ensuring they have all the necessary textbooks for their classes. This fall, the Catalyst visited the campus bookstore shared by New College and the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee (USFSM) to find some shelves nearly empty.

The campus bookstore is currently owned by the Follett Corporation, In an interview with the Catalyst,  bookstore employee Peter McClain stated, “There are fewer books and more backorders because the New College of Florida coordinator sends over the attendance and estimates based on the previous years’ enrollment.” New College has had record-breaking enrollment this fall, which supports the idea that the increase is a main cause of the bare bookstore.

A Catalyst reporter also spoke with first-year student H. Beliveau, who said, “Of the two books required for my Sociology class, one was backordered and the other not available for a week. Classes had already begun and readings were being assigned. It was stressful.”

To complicate matters further, the bookstore is slated to move from its spot adjacent to New College to the USFSM campus. As mentioned on the USF website,  a newly constructed, 32,000 square foot student center will include a new campus bookstore, dining areas, lounges, meeting rooms, a ballroom and four floors of dormitory housing on top. 

“The USF Student Council has raised almost all of the funds for the new student center,” McClain explained. 

 Even though there are few books to buy,  students have stated that they have not received their book advances on time. This issue has caused current students to be more delayed than they already were on getting their textbooks.  

“Many students at New College have had this issue because Financial Aid sends over smaller files, groups of students, while USF sends over one big file,” McClain said. 

Beliveau told the Catalyst,  “My textbook voucher was not received until the day before it expired, which was Sept. 6. This caused a lot of stress because I only had approximately 24 hours to have my books either picked up or ordered from the online bookstore.”

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