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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol 7, No. 2 April 13, 1944

Editorial — Stud. Ass. Bookshop?


Stud. Ass. Bookshop?

The beginning of the College year hat always laid a heavy financial burden on the shoulders of students, particularly those who have been to unfortunate as to mist a post-matric, year with the accompanying bursary. The two largest items in the budget are fees and books. Little can be done about feet; they are, by comparative standards, moderate. Books are another matter.

Apart from the contribution of the second-hand bookstall, which is necessarily small, university textbooks are handled exclusively by the bigger bookshops. This is unsatisfactory in two very fundamental ways.

  • (a) The profit made on all books is excessive, between fifty and one hundred per cent. Overseas catalogues show retail prices on science texts, for example, to be roughly sixty per cent, of local prices. New Zealand importers buy at wholesale rates.
  • (b) Bookshops are unwilling to take any risk for the students. Orders are insufficient; they arrive too late and are confined to absolutely essential texts. It cannot be said that this is entirely due to the war. The situation was substantially the same in 1939.

There is a simple solution to all this. Let us take a lesson from Training College and from those Government departments which import their own books. The Students' Association has proved its ability to handle its own finance; its members have had the initiative to start a second-hand bookstall. Let it next open negotiations with overseas publishers for direct importations.

The two difficulties are immediately removed. At a conservative estimate books could be retailed to students at two-thirds of their present price, with a sufficient profit. Co-operation with the staff would ensure an accurate estimate of requirements at least six months in advance.

This suggestion is not an immediate one. The difficulties of establishing contact at the moment would over-rule the advantages of the scheme. There is, however, nothing to prevent its speedy introduction immediately after the war. Let us have a Stud. Ass. Bookshop in our new Students' Union Buildings.