Missing inventory plagues Used Book Room

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By Vidya Kauri

Students entrusting their books with the Used Book Room may never see them again. Since last August a total of 150 books have been lost, according to the Used Book Room.

Abigail Krogman, a second-year arts and contemporary studies student consigned three of her books in December 2009. The Used Book Room, located in the basement of the Student Campus Centre, has allegedly lost them all.

“It’s hard. To not find one book, two books, three books… All three of them, that is really weird. As a student, that’s quite a bit of money. Every single dollar counts,” said Krogman.

The Used Book Room, a free service provided by the Ryerson Students’ Union, accepts current editions of used textbooks for resale. Students consign their books and decide on a price to sell them for which must be 20 per cent less than the retail price. Books are set to ‘expire’ after 12 months if they don’t get sold. Students are then given one month to either pick up or re-consign their unsold books. If they do neither, their textbooks are donated to a non-profit organization.

Books can go missing for a number of reasons, according to Lyndall Musselman, the Used Book Room supervisor.

Sometimes, there are technical errors with their system that doesn’t register that a book has actually been sold after the barcode has been scanned. Theft has also been a problem in the past.

Krogman consigned an economics textbook for $126, a philosophy book for $25 and an english text for $72. None of the books, which would have netted a total of $223, got sold.

On Dec. 16 2010, Krogman received a notice from the Used Book Room saying that her books had expired. She was unable to visit the Book Room until the university re-opened after the holidays. She went to collect her books on Jan. 11th, which is within the one-month grace period, only to find that all three books were missing.

Musselman explains that in a situation such as Krogman’s, the procedure is to have the student fill out a book search form which helps staff search for the missing books.

“If we can’t find the book after two complete searches of our entire collection, we are on the hook for the price the book would have sold for. So we pay out the student the amount they would have received from the sale of that book,” said Musselman.

Musselman said she is confident that Krogman’s books have not been donated because books that expired in December 2010 have not yet been donated.

Just before this story went to press, the Book Room found her English textbook but staff are waiting to complete searches for the remaining two books before they give Krogman a call.

Searches are taking a back seat to serving customers who are in the store during the very busy first week of the semester, Musselman said.

It will be awhile before any students receive compensation cheques. The RSU website said that “no Used Book Room cheques will be issued Jan. 4 to 22 due to the high volume of sales and consignment drop offs. Cheques will be issued again starting Monday, Jan. 24.”

Photo: Chelsea Pottage

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