COVID-19 Outbreak Blamed for Delay in Textbook Deliveries to Kohawks

Ayam Shrestha 

Hundreds of Kohawks have not received their textbooks for Fall 2020 even after nearly two weeks since school kicked off. According to the bookstore, the backlog of textbooks is because of a recent COVID-19 outbreak in the Follet warehouse that delivers books to Coe. 

“In our warehouse in Memphis, Tennessee, there was a COVID outbreak and we had to sanitize the warehouse which put them behind,” said Sherry Sinnott, Store Manager at the Coe College Bookstore. “They had several other issues with the employees not staying on because of the virus, they lost a lot of employees and it basically snowballed from there as to getting the books to the students.” 

Coe College Bookstore located in Lower Gage. Picture Courtesy: Ayam Shrestha

Students are dissatisfied by how they haven’t recieved their books even after waiting for over a month.

“I think it is really annoying, especially given that the school year was delayed by a week,” said Megan Bass (‘22), who ordered her book in late July. “I was unable to get this specific book from anywhere else, so I was forced to get it from the bookstore. It really seems like Follet should have been better prepared for the beginning of the school year.” 

Despite such a backlog, no information with regards to the reason behind the delay was given to the students.

“In hindsight, it was entirely my error,” said Larry Lee, Vice President of Finance and Administration. “I can only tell you it was ‘the not knowing’ and the constant assurance that everything was going to be alright that delayed my communication.” 

Students were more considerate after they were made aware of the COVID crisis in the warehouse that caused the delay. 

“I wish I knew that,” responded Bass after Cosmos told her about why her books hadn’t arrived yet. “I would probably be less annoyed and more understanding if they had communicated this with the students.” 

While the bookstore would normally have books in-store in previous years, this was not the case this year as all the textbooks were shifted to online with additional space for Coe gears and merchandise along with essentials.  

“This certainly supports the current environment of COVID-19, whereas last year we would have had large numbers of students shopping in the bookstore,” added Lee. “We made the decision prior to COVID-19 due to our desire to teach the costs of the texts to our students.  This decision was shared with the Student Senate and we also had students on the selection committee that both made the recommendation to make this change.” 

In the most recent email communication by the Bookstore, Sinnott noted that many books arrived between Tuesday and Wednesday and that it isn’t long before students receive them. “You should receive an email when your order is processed,” said Sinnott. “if you ordered books and ordered from elsewhere, we will refund you for the books purchased through our store.” 

Sinnott also apologised for the wait on behalf of the entire Follet Corporation that supplies the textbook to Coe students.  

Ayam serves as a Senator in the Student Senate and was a part of this discussion on making the change in bookstore modality.  


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