Textbook shortage frustrates students

Long lines and empty bookshelves have been common at the GW Bookstore during the school year’s first week.

“It’s not just that you can’t find the books you need,” sophomore Gerome Rothman said. “It’s the long lines as well. Shopping here is a truly annoying experience.”

Steve Duesterhaus, manager of the GW Bookstore, said filling the demand for textbooks and other school materials has been especially difficult this year because of an increased student enrollment.

Duesterhaus said the University experienced an 8.6 percent increase in enrollment for classes this fall and a 25.4 percent increase in freshman enrollment this year.

Duesterhaus said the problem is multi-faceted, which makes it difficult to target a solution. Overfilled classes and shipping errors are two of the many reasons for shortages this year.

“I don’t know of a systematic problem we have,” he said.

Professor Kip Lornell, who teaches History of Jazz, said he was unable to obtain a compact disc he needed for his course. Lornell said boxed sets of compact discs were ordered in May and were supposed to be available to students.

He said his students were unable to find the materials in the bookstore because of a problem with the publisher, Smithsonian Press and Books.

“The Smithsonian Press’ distribution is very poor and, unfortunately, the problems that I and the GW Bookstore and, by extension, GW students, are in the mainstream of anyone dealing with the S.I. Press,” he wrote in an e-mail.

Students in Professor Paul Speigler’s biology class will buy copied versions of their laboratory text from Speigler because they are unable to get the book from the GW Bookstore.

“That’s not right,” said Kathleen Morson, a student in Speigler’s class. “The bookstore should have the books, I’m missing a lot of work because of this.”

Duesterhaus said he is proud of his staff for working hard to get books on the shelves for students. He said every class does not have every book yet but that every effort is being made to shelve books as soon as possible.

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