Andover Switches Textbook Vender to Follett, Ending Partnership with Andover Bookstore

Instead of heading downtown to the Andover Bookstore to buy their textbooks before the start of school this year, students ordered their books online through Follett, a retail and wholesale distributor of educational materials including textbooks. Andover’s partnership with the Andover Bookstore came to an end last spring as the Academic Council began to search for a different kind of bookselling service that would best fit the needs of students, parents and faculty members. Cynthia Stewart, Office Manager and Administrative Assistant, said, “With the incorporation of the iPad in many classes this year, we [also] anticipated that more students would prefer electronic books over textbooks.” “[Follett] allows returning students to get their books ordered online before they arrive on campus. I think students appreciate being able to see all their books, and teachers can easily check and make any changes online if they decide to require another book,” said Patricia Russell, Dean of Studies. However, some students were unable to receive their books from Follett on time for the first day of classes. According to Russell, it has always been the case that some students have trouble getting certain books on time, because of out-of-stock orders and unexpected changes for books for courses. New students, who could not order their books until their schedules were finalized, also received late orders. “I think there were a couple of cases where we assumed that more students would order more electric versions of the text, but more of them happened to order the text version, so Follett didn’t have certain books in stock,” said Russell. She expects the service to be more efficient and accurate in the upcoming terms. Students are also welcome to try other modes of purchasing books for the school year, such as ordering through Amazon, said Russell. As there is no long-term contract with Follett, Russell hopes to receive feedback from students, parents and faculty after the end of Fall Term and the beginning of Winter Term to access the pros and cons of the service. Russell said that it was a difficult decision for the Academy to end the partnership with the bookstore. “We incredibly value having the bookstore nearby in Andover, but it is obviously a different kind of business than those that work online, and more and more people are accustomed to shopping online these days,” she said. Although the bookstore will no longer supply Andover’s textbooks, it will continue to sell Andover logo merchandise.