By JOE GIDDENS
Carla Durazo doesn’t want you to be scared of Pima Community College’s bookstore.
“I think they’re just afraid to come in here because of the prices, but they shouldn’t,” said Durazo, who has worked at the West Campus bookstore since 2014 as the assistant bookstore manager. “We have a lot of options for them.”
Those options include ebooks; textbook rentals; price matching; makeup; and even makeup.
“We try to do all these things where, you know, students can have a savings,” Durazo said. “They don’t bother to look to see what is available in the store and even on our pimashop.com site.”
Durazo recently sat down for a question-and-answer session about the West Campus bookstore.
Q: How long have you been working for the bookstore?
“I started at the East Campus bookstore as a temp back in 1996 for about 15 years. I got laid off over there in 2013 with Follett, and then I came back over here to the West Campus at the end of 2014.”
Q: How has the bookstore changed over that time?
“Technology has changed it a lot. A lot of students still come into the bookstore, but students now have alternate resources. … There’s a lot of other online sites that these students will explore. So we don’t see the foot traffic as much anymore.
Q: How do your merchandise offerings reflect that?
“Back in the past, we never did digital copies; we never did rental. That was something that was changing for us. We had to get into that in order to be like everybody else because we were seeing that a lot of students, if they purchased a used book, it was coming back to us. But Follett found ways to where we can get more business in here by, ‘Hey, let’s do rentals, you know, they can rent, it will be at a way lower costs for them.
“The younger students … they find ways to not have to buy a book.
“And then we have stuff right now going on where they have Open Educational Resources where instructors don’t require a textbook for the class. They’ll have them go online and there’s stuff online that they can go in and look at materials that they can read that way. It’s not an actual physical book that they’re coming in and buying through us any more.”
Q: If people are shoplifting here, what do they usually go after?
A lot of our electronics (and) a lot of our tech accessories are stuff that they go for. We do find sometimes empty boxes … we’ll find them in the middle of the aisle sometimes and they’ve taken them.”
Q: What are some of the requests that faculty make to you?
“We’re getting ready for spring semester, we have a lot of faculty that’ll call, ‘I’m just trying to see when is the due date for your adoptions?’
“Some of them call and asked to see about edition changes if there are newer editions, ‘Can we keep this old edition?’ ‘Can we make this a rental option?’ ‘This book is too expensive with the publisher. Is there something that you can work out with us so we can get it at a more inexpensive price for the students?’
We have instructors that call about IncludEd. IncludED is something where fees are included with the course And they get a digital copy of the book. It’s a new program that we’re doing. “(IncludED) is growing slowly …The department heads are the ones that decide whether they want to have IncludEd or not.”
Can you tell me more about how financial aid can be applied to Apple products?
“If you do have financial aid and it’s available, you can purchase an Apple like an iPad. Once it gets charged to financial aid, it automatically gets ordered for you. And then we’ll just call you once it’s here.”
Does the student need to have any paperwork for that?
“There’s files that get transferred to us for financial aid and the student. If they know that they signed up for financial aid and then if they opted in to the Early Book Purchase program.
“Their funds will be available through us in the bookstore. And it’s usually 10 days before classes start. They don’t tell you that all the time. But if you read your emails, that they send you through your Pima email.
“If you did sign up for financial aid, it’s going to ask you, ‘Do you want to opt into the early book purchase program?’ You have to say yes. Because if you don’t, you’re not going to have those funds available here in the bookstore. You have to wait until they actually send you those funds.
“The early book purchase program helps you into being able to purchase through the bookstore if you want to purchase early and because financial aid can get dispersed to you, but it’s not going to get dispersed to you until the first day of your class start date.”
How has Amazon and online rentals affected campus bookstores?
“Amazon rentals? We do price match to Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
“You still pay the full price for it, but you get the difference put on a gift card. And that can be used in the bookstore, or the cafeteria.”
Why do you think books are so expensive?
“You know, it’s the retail business. Publishers should try to try to get their book prices at a lower price. It’ll be cheaper for the students, you know, that way we don’t have such a markup on our books.
“We usually have like a item of the month that we try to get students to purchase. I’m just like any other retail store, you know, you want to try to drive sales on something but you can’t drive sales on textbooks. We can try to get them to come in here to buy other items, and students do come in here by other items.”
What do you really wish the general student population of Pima would know about the bookstore?
“I wish they just knew more about how it really works. A lot of them like have a misconception when they come in here. Yeah, but textbooks are really expensive, which I think everybody understands. If they just come in here and they actually talked to us and we try to help them get what they need, you know, they realized that it’s not nothing to be really afraid of.
“Students are going to come in here, you know, regardless. If they need a textbook, we’re going to have it here right away. If they try to order something online, you know, sometimes when you order online you might not get it. We have, we have students where they, you know, they like, ‘Ooh, I should have came to you first. I ordered this book like two weeks ago.
I haven’t gotten it in yet.’