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Five Minute Q&A
Jim Luecke

 

Sales Director Jim Luecke has worked with schools for 13 years. He uses his vast industry and virtual bookstore expertise to help schools find course material distribution solutions that best suit their needs and situations. Luecke shares his point of view on where he sees the industry heading and what trends are gaining momentum as he visits schools across the country.  

What was your first job?I worked on my uncle’s farm every summer from the ages of 12 to 18. Looking back, it was a hot, dirty, smelly job, but it really made me into the person I am today.

How would you describe the solutions available to clients?Customizable. Every school has different expectations and needs. We are knowledgeable about the issues that schools face, and we are flexible enough to make our solution fit the school.

We truly have a solution to fit every school. With us, schools can deal with one vendor and choose from a multitude of different options, including virtual bookstores, on-campus stores, inclusive access solutions, and even our Custom Store Solution, where we will customize the best solution for your school. For example, we serve the University of Michigan with a fantastic campus store, a state-of-the-art virtual bookstore and on-site textbook pickup.

In your view, what’s the biggest challenge facing higher education today?Uncertainty. There is so much change happening right now in the industry. Institutions are trying to find the right fit for their unique situation and there are a lot of questions they are trying to answer. Where are students buying their books? Do students buy books at all? Can we make sure students are getting their books by the first day of class? Is the bookstore making money? Are the course materials affordable? There are so many different levels that institutions have to consider when deciding the future of their course material distribution process. Also, student retention has gotten a lot more important. Enrollments across the country are going down for many four-year and two-year institutions. Schools must make sure that students have their books on the first day of class because that directly affects student success which then affects student retention. It’s all connected.

Where do you see the future of the book publishing industry?It is evolving in several ways: the types of content, who delivers the content and even how students are using the content. Inclusive Access and OER materials continue to evolve and spread throughout the industry.  As more publishers and vendors try their hand in this market, schools have a greater number of choices.  I think we will continue to see new low-cost options evolve for students, and I think schools will look for partners who have the relationships within the industry to consolidate multiple models into a single platform or service.

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this?I’m not sure, probably something outside.

Best day at your job (so far?)I’ve had a lot of great days; it’s hard to pick one out. I’m excited for what the future holds and I’m looking forward to many more great days to come.

 




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