University students affected by shortages at Illini Union Bookstore


Claire Hettinger

The Illini Union Bookstore has been running low on books this semester causing a problem for students who end up having to purchase their required books online.

By Jessica Berbey, Staff Writer

Only one week into the semester, the Illini Union Bookstore is already out of many required textbooks. As the only physical spot on campus to buy new textbooks, many students are now scrambling to keep up with assigned readings.

“My professor had ordered more than enough books for my music history class, but only four copies were available at the bookstore,” said Sarah Rabin, senior in FAA.

Rabin said that she had to order the books elsewhere, which cost her more money for faster shipping. 

Director of the Illini Union Bookstore Tod Petrie said he was not aware of this issue.

“I did not know it was a problem this semester,” Petrie said. “Last semester they had to estimate the amount (of books to order) due to T.I.S. closing.” 

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

In August, T.I.S. stopped selling textbooks. Instead, they rebranded as The Illini Shop, selling collegiate apparel and merchandise.

Petrie said requesting a book on hold at the customer service desk is one way to relieve this dilemma. Students who do so are directly contacted once the books are restocked.

“Textbook buying is not a perfect science,” he said. “There’s no way of knowing exactly how many books to order.”

He said numerous variables contribute to why certain books may not be available, including professors putting in their orders late, late faculty hires, over enrollment, students dropping classes after having purchased books, other students enrolling in their places and online competitors selling books.

Divenia Logendiran, sophomore in LAS, said she has not been able to purchase the majority of her books.

“The book for my sexuality course is not available and neither were the books for my CWL 215 course,” Logendiran said.

Because the bookstore has over 5,000 titles, Petrie does not know exactly which books are not available. However, if he is given specifics, he said he would be glad to order the books the same day, thus urging students to go to the customer service desk and request books that are not already available.

The new Amazon@Illinois pickup location in the bookstore will provide more convenience, Petrie said.

“If you order by 11 a.m., you can receive your books the same day if you have Prime,” he said.

Vigneshwar Cheriath, sophomore in Engineering, said that he tries to avoid the bookstore and rents his books off of Amazon instead.

“(The bookstore) is expensive, so having Amazon in-store has been really helpful,” he said. “Last semester, books were sold out (at the bookstore) within the first week.”

However, those who do not rely on Amazon still have to deal with the textbook shortages at the Illini Union Bookstore. Corina Perez, sophomore in LAS, said physical copies of her chemistry textbook were not available, so she purchased an e-book copy.

“It definitely makes things a little more difficult,” she said.

[email protected]