Campus News - January 14, 2002

Bookstore makes magazine cover

By Carolyn Gonzales

The UNM Bookstore was the cover story for the Sept. issue of College Store Executive, a national publication on news and merchandizing in the college store industry.

The article, "Turning Complaints into Compliments," addresses how the staff, under the direction of Bookstore Director Melanie Sparks, listened to complaints from UNM faculty, staff and students about services and operation of the Bookstore and moved to remedy the problems.

Issues included textbooks not being available in time for classes, shortage of required books and long lines at the checkout counter during rushes and text buy backs.

Sparks, Bookstore director since 1999, together with the bookstore director from California State University-San Bernadino, made a presentation last year at Connect 2 One, a buying group. The article was a later result.

Sparks said that one of the first steps toward improvement was refocusing on campus customers.

Next came training, especially when it came to textbook ordering. Communicating with faculty, using publisher representatives, working off used-book lists, getting beyond a hit or miss approach to text buy backs and developing a computer system to track inventory all aided in resolving issues Sparks and her staff heard from their customers.

The hard work paid off. The 27 cash registers rang up sales of more than $12.6 million for fiscal year 2000-01 with textbook sales at $7.7 million.

Overall sales were up 6.2 percent from the previous year.

The University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico USA
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