ON DEMAND: What Could Go Wrong with a Textbook Order? (5 mins)

  • Avinash Mainkar George Mason University
  • Ala Showers George Mason University


This poster session documents the challenges faced with the textbook order for the pilot run of a required undergraduate course in the School of Business. The difficulties encountered are grouped into eight distinct areas chronologically.

1) What to include in the course pack and what should be left out? This decision involves the trade off between bundling discount from the publisher and the flexibility to the teacher.

2) Do publishers have leeway with their list prices? Because the marginal cost of getting an additional customer is practically zero, steep discounts were available.

3) Do you know ISBNs galore? The publisher created a unique ISBN. Building on this original ISBN, GMU Mason bookstore created an ISBN of their own. This can only create confusion!

4) How does the GMU bookstore ordering work? The class enrollment was 20, but the bookstore only had 8 in stock. Replenishing the stock took 8-10 days after the semester had started.

5) What alternatives are available to purchase the course pack? The course pack could also be purchased electronically from the publisher. But the codes required by the students could only be mailed physically, needing additional eight days.

6) What is the agreement between the University, the publisher, and the Mason bookstore? Directing students to the publisher’s website is a potential grey area.

7) What if the link students click is wrong? Individual refunds and placing new orders.

8) What was done to mitigate the unexpected delay? Contacted the publisher to issue temporary access codes.

On Demand Pre-recorded Presentation