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It's back-to-school time at the Barnes & Noble at NMSU bookstore

Whether it is the smell of roasted green chile in the air drawing them back, or the impending beginning of the fall semester, New Mexico State University students are slowly returning to Las Cruces. In fact, Sunday was move-in day for campus housing residents.

Stacks of textbooks sit on long shelves at the Barnes & Noble at NMSU bookstore.
Barnes & Noble at NMSU employees have worked since March to have textbooks ready for the fall semester. This space will soon be filled with students searching for their assigned textbooks. (NMSU photo by Emily C. Kelley)
This is a close-up image of a price tag and stack of books waiting to be purchased at Barnes & Noble at NMSU.
Barnes & Noble at NMSU offers several money-saving options for acquiring textbooks - buying a used book, renting a new or used book or buying the new book at regular price. (NMSU photo by Emily C. Kelley)
Students enter the Barnes & Noble at NMSU bookstore.
Students pictured here on move-in day in 2011 enter the brand news Barnes & Noble at NMSU bookstore. The bookstore anticipates selling more than 30,000 textbooks during the fall back-to-school rush. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

Area retailers are eager for their return, and the Barnes & Noble at NMSU bookstore, the campus bookstore, is no different. This week and next will be two of the busiest weeks of the year at Barnes & Noble at NMSU bookstore.

Students will purchase or rent more than 32,000 textbooks during this period of time, and buy more than 1,000 new crimson-colored T-shirts, polo shirts, hats and more. The Aggie Tech Shop has seen laptops selling at the rate of several per day, and the rush hasn't even started yet.

Preparation for the coming rush started in March with the beginning of the faculty textbook adoption process. Adoption allows instructors to tell the bookstore which textbooks they will require for their classes. Early adoption allows the bookstore to explore options for finding used books to help students keep textbook prices down.

"We started the adoption process for the fall semester in March and April," said Barnes & Noble at NMSU General Manager Jayna Whitehead. "We hope that we get most of our adoptions in during that April-May timeframe, but we're still getting adoptions in now. We're at about 93 percent, and our goal is to get to 100 percent adoptions very soon."

"It's quite a lengthy process," said Textbook Manager Marvin Paz. "We start placing orders with the publishers and our used book suppliers to get as many of our books on the shelves as soon as possible so we can be ready for the first day of class."

The books arrive both in boxes and on pallets throughout the summer and Paz said his goal is to get the books on the floor, ready to go, as soon as they hit the dock.

Students no longer only have purchasing their textbooks as an option - just like their dorm rooms and apartments, now they can rent them. Barnes & Noble at NMSU offers options for obtaining books - from buying new or used books, to renting new or used books, and there are several different price points to fit student budgets. You can even place your order online.

"Barnes & Noble offered the rental program in fall 2011for our store, and it was a tremendous success," Paz said. "It started with the rental price being 51 percent off the new book price. Now, they've introduced dynamic rental pricing where there's a different rental price for new books and used books. New books rent for, on average, 40 percent off the new price, whereas used books can be anywhere from 55 to as much as 75 percent off that new book price. There's tremendous saving potential."

The university offers a student charge account with a limit of $500 to help students to bridge the gap between when they need to purchase or rent their books, and when their financial aid might become available. To learn more about this option, visit nmsubookstore.com and look for the student charge account information at the top of the page.

"We're focused on customer service and try to help everyone as best we can as fast as we can - filling online orders, answering phone calls, showing them look up their book lists via their My NMSU account," Paz said. "We have a very dynamic team here who is focused on helping our customers."

Textbooks are a very important part of the college back-to-school experience, but technology is no less important.

"Right now we have a lot of parents and students coming in interested in laptops and iPads so that the students have something to use while they're not at home," said Aggie Tech Shop Manager Audree Smith. "If they purchase the laptop here, they are able to bring it in for service, too. We do the service on campus, so they don't have to leave campus to go to another store."

Smith said that Aggie Tech Shop employees are happy to help customers learn the basics of their new machine when they make the purchase, and customers are welcome to come back in to ask questions if they're having problems later on.

Another good reason to visit the Aggie Tech Shop when visiting the bookstore is to take advantage of Apple's educational discount. Those discounted prices are the only ones you will see on Apple products in the Aggie Tech Shop.

"Back-to-school for cashiers, we are getting ready for rentals, getting ready for discounts, and preparing ourselves for the rush of having everyone come to our register," said Cashier Laycee Smith. "Come to the bookstore to check it out. If you don't need books, if you need a computer, if you need to get something to wear to the game, you need to come to the bookstore."