Associated Students is hoping to better its financial condition by urging professors to use the A.S. Notetaking and Publications Service to print class readers instead of off-campus companies like Grafikart and the Alternative Copy Shop.
Off-Campus Rep Adam Graff, who wrote an A.S. Legislative Council resolution to support increased A.S. patronage, said A.S. Publications currently prints readers for 80 to 90 classes, makes about $250,000 a year and currently holds a 10 percent market share on publishing readers. However, he said it could easily handle twice that amount.
“The biggest selling point on this is that [A.S.] is a nonprofit company and all the money that we get on the sales goes right back to the students,” Graff said.
Buying readers from A.S. rather than competitors in Isla Vista is beneficial to students and the environment, Graff said, because of the cheaper average prices and use of recycled paper
In light of last quarter’s failure of the A.S. Initiative, which would have raised student fees, Graff said increased revenue from the publications service would help make A.S. more financially self-sufficient.
“If we demonstrate to the student body that we can be fiscally responsible and that we can come up with ways to find additional revenue instead of just constantly asking students to raise the base fee, then students might be more inclined to support us in the future,” he said.
A.S. had previously not been able to compete with third-party publishing companies due to inefficient technology, Graff said. The addition of two digital copy machines acquired in recent years, however, has made the production process faster and easier.
“We were not up to par with other third-party publishing companies and now we are,” he said.
Cindy Lopez, A.S. Business Services manager, said A.S. Publications is prepared to produce more reader orders.
“We welcome new business all the time,” Lopez said. “We can definitely produce more than we have.”
The prices of readers do not differ significantly among A.S. Publications, the Alternative Copy Shop and Grafikart, Graff said.
Grafikart manager David Miller said the pricing of readers at Grafikart varies depending on numerous factors such as the professors’ binding choices and number of copies as well as the original book’s size, number of royalties and publisher fees. Grafikart prices are comparable to the competition, Miller said.
“I’m not as familiar with A.S.,” Miller said. “But pricewise, [Grafikart is] fairly close with the Alternative [Copy Shop].”
Graff said he and other members of A.S. plan to meet with academic department heads and professors to persuade them to use A.S. reader-printing facilities rather than the Alternative Copy Shop and Grafikart by the end of the quarter.
Heather Stoll, a visiting assistant professor in the Political Science Dept., said she considers cost an important factor when printing her course readers and is sympathetic to the amount of money students spend on readers. Stoll said she would be open to the idea of switching from the Alternative Copy Shop to A.S. if convinced that A.S. would be less expensive.
“I’m really interested in making readers as affordable for students as possible,” Stoll said.
Juan Pacheco, a fourth-year Spanish and sociology double major, said he agrees that more readers should be available at A.S. Publications because of its convenient location and the possibility of increased revenue for A.S.
“It would be a good idea because students’ readers would be available on campus and everyone has to come to campus to attend class anyway,” Pacheco said. “All that money would go back to the students because A.S. supports different campus organizations. I’m in an organization and I know we go through A.S. to get funding, so there will be more funding for different programs.”