Textbook sales keep falling at Highline

By Arron Brooks - Staff Reporter

Highline's Bookstore has faced some challenges in dealing with the advent of e-books and third-party book retailers, but these issues haven't stopped the shop's eagerness to help and provide the essentials for students, its manager said.

 In the past couple decades, the Bookstore's main source of revenue was, of course, its books sold or loaned to students. 

"Since 2015, when I started in the bookstore business, we have seen a drastic decline in book sales because of Amazon and peer-to-peer exchanges," said Kristi Dopp, the Bookstore manager.

 This challenge of selling physical copies hasn't deterred the store from being able to serve students and it has other means to make up lost revenue, Dopp said. 

Besides the selection of books for sale or rent, the Bookstore is also a one-stop shop for any students needing any essentials for their classes. Dealing anywhere from medical supplies to art supplies, the Bookstore can save students time, effort and most of all money by using the store's price comparison tool provided at the front desk in the store. 

The Bookstore is a "resource for students," Dopp said. 

The Bookstore is nonprofit and is owned and operated by the college. Any profit goes back into the campus for student programs or other needs of the college. The Bookstore employs roughly 20 students during the slow Summer Quarter and up to 50 students during the busy months of Fall Quarter.  

The Bookstore's yearly annual revenue for the past four years shows how challenging it really is to keep up revenue while selling fewer books.

The revenues have been: 

$2,699,549; in 2013-14,

$2,731,518; in 2014-15,

$2,459,398; in 2015-16, and        

$2,306,042; in 2016-17.

By the numbers, the Bookstore earns an average of $2,549,126.75 every fiscal year, but loses an average of $131,169 each fiscal year due to losses in book sales to third parties.

The Bookstore also has deals and offers at any given time throughout the year. Students can always check the Bookstore's webpage at highlinebookstore.com for the latest promotions.

Book buy back events are always during the first and last week of any quarter, for students who don't want to keep their books. Buy back weeks help the store reuse and resell used textbooks without ordering more from the publisher. 

"Only 20 percent of students who buy books actually return their books during the buyback events and only 85 percent of students return rented books," Dopp said.   

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