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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 13, No. 8. April 27th, 1950

The Inside Story

The Inside Story

After the discussion in Salient columns on the question of a Student Bookshop, we were glad to get this letter from John Hogan, the Managing Director of Technical Books.

Technical Books have been advertisers in Salient for some time, and students must provide a fair number of the firm's clientele. The remarks he makes—though they are not those of a student—are very acceptable as they give the other side of the story. He says—

"I have been interested in the correspondence in your columns concerning this proposal. The idea Is not, of course, a new one—it is indeed a perennial that crops up almost every year and in almost every University College.

"A.W.C. correctly states some of the booksellers' problems in giving adequate and satisfactory service to students. However, we are happy to be able to give a definite assurance on three points raised by him:—
"1.For our part, we have not 'a general post-war disinclination to carry warehouse stocks'—we are quite prepared to carry stocks of all standard textbooks and reference books as our shelves will show at any time.
"2.While many books are still not in print again since the war, there is no general shortage of supplies overseas, and we are able to obtain adequate quantities of most books required with little delay.
"3.Import restrictions do not hamper us in obtaining all our requirements of text and reference books.

"In point of fact, the greatest single difficulty that the booksellers have bad to contend with in providing for the textbook requirement for students has been the uncertainty caused by a curious tendency on the part of the faculty to change the set textbooks at short notice. Many booksellers have had their fingers badly burned as a result of landing stocks of textbooks only to find that they were no longer required, and virtually unsaleable.

"We understand that this problem is now being fairly recognised and dealt with by professorial staff and that in many cases they are prepared to give an assurance that textbooks will not be changed without six or 12 months notice so that booksellers can order with reasonable confidence.

"A further problem arises if orders are distributed between a number of booksellers or if individual students, for fear of not getting books they want, place orders for the same books with several different booksellers. Under these circumstances, someone is going to be left with unsaleable stock, or alternatively, everyone is going to order too cautiously and supplies will be inadequate. This problem, too, is quite capable of solution by proper co-operation between students, their associations and the booksellers concerned.

"The possibility of orders for textbooks being placed with an importing bookseller by the Students Association itself in return for a favourable discount for a bulk order is also frequently discussed. The dis-advantage of this approach is that there has never yet been a Students Association prepared to take responsibility for a specific quantity order and for payment within a specified period.

"Now that supplies of moat important books can be readily obtained and there is little occasion for specifying unprocurable books, there is no reason why students should not be assured of all' they require in future. All the bookseller wants is:
"1.A firm order placed sufficiently early.
"2.An assurance that textbooks will not be changed without reasonable notice.
"3.A responsible body to deal with if bulk discount is required."

John Hogan.