Textbook Butler, established May 2013, was designed to make getting textbooks easier for students. However, some students said they are having problems with the program.
Textbook Butler was proposed to the university two years ago by Tree of Life CEO Darren Campbell. The university decided to try the program after the bookstore had its worst business year in 2012.
Julie Hendryx, interim vice president for business and finance, said the previous way the textbooks were being distributed was a broken model. The Textbook Butler program was established to ensure that students had their books.
“We needed to change it,” Hendryx said. “Textbook Butler was used at other campuses, and it was working for other campuses.”
Indiana Wesleyan University and Spring Arbor University have Textbook Butler as an option for their students.
The program had students automatically opted in to get all of their textbooks sent to their dorm rooms by move-in day. For some students, this did not happen.
“I didn’t have all my books until the second week of school,” sophomore Beth Turner said.
Hendryx said Tree of Life’s system errors caused this.
“They [Tree of Life] didn’t get books ordered as early as they wanted due to functionality within their system that wasn’t working,” she said.
Freshman Laura Sigworth also had trouble getting the correct textbooks on time.
“I got some of the wrong books and had to keep going back to the bookstore to see if they had the right ones,” she said. “It took four days to get all of the right books for my classes.”
Hendryx said this was the fault of publishers packaging wrong books and sending them without knowing they were the wrong books.
“You’re always going to have some issues with the publishers,” she said.
Students were able to opt out of Textbook Butler in the university’s portal website. Junior Jordan Placencia opted out and found her books on her own.
“When I looked through the guidelines of [Textbook Butler], it seemed like a lot of things were out of my control,” said Placencia. “I felt more comfortable doing things my own way.”
Junior Liz Stevens said the program was too expensive, even though students could choose whether to rent or purchase their books.
“It was $300 cheaper to buy my books online,” she said.
President Sherilyn Emberton, Ed.D., said they are still working through the issues with the program.
“I’m real concerned about that,” she said. “I want things to go well, and it bothers me when things do not go well.”