What Grinds Our Gears: SFU’s bookstore should be helping me find books

Why am I stuck shipping books from the UK?


by Sara Wong, Peak Associate

Having the correct copy of a required course reading is extremely important. That’s why I primarily rely on the SFU Bookstore when purchasing my course materials. However, for the second semester in a row, the bookstore has elected to operate solely online, using VitalSource to assist students in tracking down ebooks that fulfill their course needs. This service is useless to me because a majority of the books I need are not available in a digital format. It’s also pointless because my professors tend to want students to have physical copies of the assigned books for engagement during synchronous sessions.

My professors have noticed the bookstore’s lack of course material too. “I am writing to ask you to consider ordering this textbook from Amazon,” one of them addresses my class in an email. I’d rather not line the pockets of a man whose net worth is larger than the endowments given to Harvard, Yale, and the University of Texas combined — but desperate times call for desperate measures. 

At the SFU Library, you can now pick up holds or request digital scans of book chapters. I don’t see why the bookstore can’t resume in-person pickups as well, with obvious safety measures in place. The library doesn’t have as large a variety of materials as the bookstore, so those of us who need physical copies of texts are forced to spend more time and money elsewhere. Given the world we live in at the moment — full of financial insecurity and limited business operations — the SFU Bookstore should be doing more to ensure that SFU students are well-equipped for their forthcoming studies. 

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