About the Bookstore
The University of Toronto Bookstore has evolved in the last five years to be a leader among campus bookstores in understanding and fulfilling the needs of the University community. We conduct several surveys throughout the year, surveying both Faculty members and students, which help us to understand how to set our priorities and where to focus our efforts.
Saving students money
Students have told us clearly that they expect their campus bookstore to save them money on their course materials and other products. We meet this expectation in many ways. Our new book discounts are significant and our prices on new textbooks are competitive with Amazon.ca. We also offer a price match guarantee, so if a student finds a lower price online that we overlooked, we will honour that price and they are able to remain confident that we will always provide a competitive price. The breadth and depth of our used and rental book programs make them the largest of their kind at campus stores in Canada. With these programs, we have saved students more than $5 million on textbooks compared to what purchasing new books at their list price would have cost them in the last three years.
Our rental book program is unique and available for well over half of our titles. It allows students to rent either a new or used book, both online and in store, make notes and highlight in the book. Furthermore, our buyout option allows students who later decide that they would prefer to keep the book, to do just that.
We also save students a considerable amount of money through special sales for University of Toronto branded products and technology items.
Outstanding customer service
Great customer service is very important to the community and we are pleased to report that we receive very high scores for our service. In a recent survey, 92% of student respondents said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the customer service they received, 92% said that our staff was friendly and helpful and 95% were happy with their overall experience. One particular area of customer service where we excel is in maintaining much shorter wait times in line than the industry standard. During our busiest weeks in September and January, the vast majority of students reported waiting less than 10 minutes in line to complete their purchases. We accomplish this by having sufficient cash registers open. We have also significantly increased the number of staff available to serve customers during our peak periods and refined our recruitment procedures to ensure we have the best team members possible. In a recent Faculty survey, more than 90% of Faculty who responded said that the service provided by their bookstore textbook coordinator met or exceeded their expectations.
The Bookstore is also very committed to being a leader in innovation. We have innovative programs in every area of our business and have pioneered many new initiatives. Two excellent examples are Direct to Garment Printing and the Espresso Book Machine.
Direct to Garment Printing
We use in-house, cutting edge technology that allows us to print high resolution images on garments, without the minimum quantities required by clothing manufacturers, and at economical prices. We use only ethically-sourced blank garments and eco-friendly inks and supplies.
Espresso Book Machine
UTP is Toronto’s first owner of an Espresso Book Machine (EBM). Through the EBM, known as our BookPOD, we offer a print-on-demand service with access to 4 million titles (including mostly out of print, and some commercial titles). We are able to print almost anything an instructor needs for their course in a library quality, soft cover, bound book. Instructors and students are also able to self-publish their own materials which can be printed and bound in book format in low quantities. We also offer thesis and report printing and binding in either soft or hard cover.
Enhancing the reputation of the University
The programs mentioned above contribute to enhancing the reputation of the University. We also achieve this in a number of other ways.
In addition to selling textbooks, at our downtown location, we have a larger selection of academic and intellectually focused trade books than any other campus bookstore in Canada. To engage the community, our trade book team participates as the book seller at more than 100 book events and readings in Toronto throughout the year, including several high profile events such as Word on the Street and ideacity.
Increasing the number of students wearing campus branded apparel adds to school spirit and promotes the University in the surrounding community. We have enhanced our clothing assortment to offer a better selection, include key brands such as Roots, and the addition of the Signature Collection which highlights the official marks of the University of Toronto.
The progress we have made in continuously improving our services have been recognized by our peers in the industry. Due to our philosophy of making customer priorities our priority, we have received several awards. For example, we have won the Canadian Booksellers Association’s Libris Award for Campus Bookseller of the Year seven times in the past 15 years, including in 2013 and 2011. We were also recently short-listed for the Retail Council of Canada Award for Independent Retailer of the Year.
The bookstore is operated by the University of Toronto Press, a not-for-profit organization with a mission to publish exemplary works of scholarship, and to disseminate knowledge widely for the benefit of society. We truly appreciate your support and partnership and encourage you to contact us if you have any questions or feedback on how we can continue to improve.