After past problems regarding delivery and communication, the Kampen-based textbook supplier Studystore has decided to halt their operations as of this week. Through the Organisation of Study Associations (OS), a contract with the supplier had been in place for the past few years. That way, the OS used a book contract committee to facilitate the delivery of books to UT students through the study associations.
The supplier suddenly pulling the plug has caught the umbrella organisation for UT study associations 'totally by surprise', according to OS board member Roy Koers. ‘Because of previous issues, we did already have our doubts about Studystore. Normally, we always extend a contract by two years. Last year, we opted for a one-year extension. Given the current situation, that was definitely a good decision.’
‘All hands on deck’
For the coming academic year, the OS already has a trial contract with a new supplier. ‘For the longer term, therefore, we have no concerns,’ Koers states. But those concerns do exist for the short term, especially regarding the next quartile. That is why the OS is holding an emergency meeting with representatives of the study associations next week. Koers explains: ‘It'll be all hands on deck for a while. We need to take a good look at how the current contract works and what the associations and students can still benefit from. Perhaps we can initiate the contract with the new supplier sooner, but we have to look at that contract carefully.’
For the supply of textbooks in the fourth quarter, uncertainty reigns supreme, says the OS administrator. ‘We are not the only umbrella association or university dealing with this, which does not make it any easier. The main aim of the OS is to make it as easy as possible for the associations, but we also don't yet know the exact scope of their anticipated problems. Next week's meeting will have to give insight into that.’
Some representatives of study associations confirm this view. ‘We know that the OS is busy working on it,’ says Roel ten Broek of study association Stress. ‘But especially for the fourth quartile, it is still very uncertain what the consequences are going to be. No, members haven't expressed mass concerns yet, but we hope to have some clarity as soon as possible.’
For study associations Communiqué (Communication Sciences) and ConcepT (Civil Engineering), the damage seems to be limited for the time being. ‘Our members typically don’t buy that many textbooks. So the effect will probably not be that big,' says Communiqué chair Rick Huizinga. 'Still, we have to make sure that we offer an alternative for students who do need books.’ Lars Paternotte (ConcepT) adds: ‘We assume that for the fourth quartile, textbooks can no longer be ordered via Studystore. For us, this does not pose any immediate problems given the subjects on offer, but that won't apply to every association. Perhaps students who need books will have to look through a website like Bol.com.'