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Course Materials Specialist

Department: Retail Services Effective Date: August, 2007


35 hr/wk
Reports to: Director, Retail Services

General Accountability

The Bookstore Course Materials Specialist is accountable to the Director of Retail Services for the provision of course materials including but not limited to textbooks, classroom responders, on-line course materials, and access pin codes for course adoptions. The incumbent ensures the availability and accuracy of the course materials adopted for purchase in the Bookstore and from the Retail Services ecommerce site. 

Nature and Scope

The incumbent is one of two Course Materials Specialists reporting to the Director of Retail Services.  Also reporting to the Director of Retail Services in the Bookstore are the Operations Co-ordinator  and the General Books Buyer.  Reporting to the Bookstore Operations Co-ordinator are the Ecommerce Customer Service Associate, Customer Service Associate, the POS Sales Assistant and several part-time casual staff. The incumbent serves as an effective Bookstore team member working collaboratively to achieve the Bookstore goals and objectives.

The Retail Services managers reporting directly to the Director are the IT Administrator, Accounting manager, Marketing Co-ordinator, Shipping and Receiving Manager, CampusTechshop Manager, and the General Merchandise Manager.

Retail Services is the university ancillary department  responsible for providing goods and services for students, faculty, staff, alumni and the  external community.  The Retail Services business operations include five retail stores – Bookstore, CampusTechshop, UW Shop, Techworx and Artworx.  Operations support units in Retail Services include Information Technology, Accounting, Marketing, and Shipping & Receiving. 

The Bookstore is the largest Retail Services business unit,  primarily responsible for providing faculty course materials for approximately 22,000 FTE undergraduate students, 2,500 (full-time) graduate students, and course adoption service for 963 faculty and 55 administrative assistant/text liaisons.  The Bookstore carries in stock  both the required and optional course materials for on-campus, distance education,  and graduate studies programs.  The Bookstore also specializes in reference books, general interest books, remainder books and provides a special order service for any book in print.   Annual Bookstore sales are $11M.

The incumbent works closely with faculty, publishers, and UW Graphics to ensure that buying decisions, publication details,  priorities and procedures, and the co-ordination of timelines are achieved effectively and efficiently in the course materials adoption process. 

The Fall course materials adoption is the largest, beginning in June, with over 2,700 course requests requiring course materials for September.  The demand for course materials to be available in July for Student Life 101 requires diligence from the incumbent to ensure that  the majority of first year course adoptions with 1,000 or more enrolment are received in sufficient time (prior to July).   A single course material adoption may require 2,000 or more of one title or several items.   In October, the Winter term course adoption cycle begins, and in February for the Spring term.       


The course materials adoption process requires the incumbent to have a thorough knowledge of academic publishers, publisher data bases, academic resources, academic book distributors, and Books-In-Print databases.  While books are central in the  publishing industry, the incumbent must keep abreast of the publishers’ technology solution which presently include student response transmitters, digital content, and digital rights management.  The incumbent is familiar with the publishers’ options for content delivery including permission for on campus reproduction, packaging of access codes with books, and companion      e-resources for students.

The course adoption process requires the incumbent to analyze sell-through reports, enrolment caps, and sales reports, consult with publishers, and research publisher websites to ensure accurate and current information for pricing, edition, ISBN, and availability.   The incumbent diligently monitors, paying special attention to exchange rates, abnormal price increases, the content of textbook packages, and new editions.  The incumbent is expected to search the CCRA database, remainder wholesalers, and other book sources to procure the best price for course materials.       

The challenges in this position are:

The incumbent is a member of the Bookstore team working collaboratively with the Bookstore Operations co-ordinator, Course Materials Specialist (Liberal Arts), and the General Book Buyer to achieve the goals and objectives of the Bookstore.

Statistical Data

Specific Accountabilities



Working Conditions