The classic Book Distribution Day, right before the beginning of the school year, is characterized by swarms of students, joyous reunions with friends and the struggle of lifting heavy textbooks after their purchases.
But this annual event will look very different this August.
Hockaday will be switching to a new textbook system, trading the traditional buying of textbooks on Book Distribution Day for the online purchase of textbooks using a system called MBS Direct.
Aside from traditional textbooks, MBS Direct will offer students the opportunity to purchase used textbooks and even electronic versions of their books.
These books can be shipped directly to a student’s home or to Hockaday within 24 hours of the time that a book is purchased, in concordance with MBS’ “out the door in 24” policy.
Junior Abby Fuller supports the switch to the new system and plans to take advantage of the e-book offerings from MBS Direct.
“My backpack is really heavy with all of my textbooks right now,” Fuller said. “So I would use e-books for classes like history and math, where I just need the book to do homework.”
Not only does this switch allow for greater flexibility for the form of a textbook, but it will also allow families to buy new and used textbooks at competitive prices.
The online MBS Direct site will show buyers the next two or three most competitively priced books from Amazon and Amazon Marketplace. This new feature ensures that students are paying the lowest price possible for their books.
The payment flexibility that MBS Direct offers is unprecedented, as it allows families to purchase books using credit cards or PayPal. This flexibility even extends to MBS’ return policy, which allows students to get 100 percent of their money back if the book is returned within 30 days.
Hockaday bookstore manager Dara Williams promises students that their books will have a great value.
“MBS Direct buys textbooks in larger volumes than the Hockaday Bookstore does, so they make sure that their prices are competitive,” Williams said.
Like Williams, Head of Upper School Terry Murray advocates strongly for the new system because it eases the financial burden for families.
“We recognize the rising cost of books and we already have a tremendous tuition,” Murray said. “The change is being made because it is fiscally responsible for the community.”
The option to rent books or purchase used books that are 25 percent off of the list price also allows Hockaday students to receive the best price possible for their books.
But the positive effects of the change do not just end there. Another feature of the new system is the opportunity to sell one’s used books.
MBS Direct will offer a price for the books and a “quote,” or the maximum amount of money that can be earned from selling the used books to the company.
On May 27, students can bring their books and the quote to Clements, and then ship them back to MBS Direct. After a few weeks, the company will send the student a check in the mail.
Because MBS Direct values customer loyalty, it provides more money at buyback for repeat customers.
While the buyback aspect of the system will be new, Book Distribution will still occur at the beginning of the school year.
The purpose of the day, however, will be to purchase school supplies, senior apparel and PE clothing, rather than one’s textbooks.
“It’s more of a registration day than anything else,” Williams said.
Murray also plans to introduce new activities to Book Distribution Day.
“We’re going to have an orientation and special activities for specific grades, like a Mo Ranch meeting for the freshmen,” Murray said. “We also want girls to have some time to spend with their advisories,” he said.
Above all, the new system gives flexibility to teachers and is a model that Hockaday will continue to follow.
“Students and parents alike will have more options and their savings will be enormous,” Williams said.
– Eshani Kishore – Features Editor