Yearbook sales suffer with a decrease from last year’s purchases


Senior Camille McManus, yearbook business manager, counts checks and book sale sheets at her desk.

Grace Vance

With the start of a new semester comes the end of yearbook sale availability.

While a majority of students usually buy a yearbook by this time, senior Camille McManus, the yearbook business manager, said sales are down despite the deadline purchase deadline of Jan. 27 already here.
While some students might be worried because they didn’t meet the deadline, McManus said students can still place their order until Jan. 31.
“We have to tell Walsworth, which is the company that we buy our books from, how many books we’re going to order by [Jan.] 30, so we need to know how many [books] to order plus an additional hundred or so,” McManus said. “We have to count that up before we tell them, so we decided to set the deadline a few days before that so if there are a few last minute people, then they would have the opportunity to buy. Really it’s just to make sure that we have the set amount that we order correct.”
For students such as senior Tyra Byas, senior year brings the realization that high school is almost over. With the crossroads of high school and college near, she feels that now is the best time to purchase a yearbook.
“I think [yearbooks are] great. I’m buying my first yearbook ever [this year] because it’s my last year and I think it’s important and traditional to get one for your last year,” Byas said. “It’ll be a momento of your final year and high school in general.”
Byas especially looks forward to seeing the yearbook pages on the Columbia Area Career Center (CACC) culinary class because of her involvement in the program throughout the past last four years. Similarly to Byas, senior Bridger Bjornstrom is also buying his first yearbook this year.
“I haven’t bought a yearbook in the past three years but I plan on getting one this year,” Bjornstrom said. “They’re important senior year especially because I know I’m definitely not going to remember all the faces of the people I’ve met at [RBHS].”
Even though he didn’t purchase a yearbook for his first three years of high school, he did use the one his brother bought when Bjornstrom was a sophomore. Otherwise, he felt it was most cost effective to get a yearbook his senior year because the earlier yearbooks would have “all the same faces.”

The decrease in paper books impacts sale range

While McManus said there have always been students who don’t believe yearbooks are necessary to remember their high school years, she said this year the number of people buying yearbooks compared to last year have decreased by about 150 sales. As business manager, she attributes this to advertising and student culture.
“I think a lot of it might be advertising, but there’s also the social media aspect. There’s so many people on social media that have all these pictures saved [digitally] and they don’t necessarily think they need a book to remember all their memories from high school,” McManus said. “That’s one thing that I think makes sales not as high, but I think a lot of it might have been advertising this year. Looking back, I might not have put enough effort into trying to get the word out about buying a book or when they’re available or the importance of them.”
Despite McManus’ regret of not spending more time focusing on her methods of advertising in the first few months of school, Byas appreciated the reminders to buy a book on social media.
“It helped seeing the posters around the hallway [and] the tweets to know the deadlines of things,” Byas said.
McManus said she advertised deadlines, the price and where to buy a book on sites like Twitter, Bearing News and the Infobruin. She also displayed posters throughout the walls of RBHS to catch student attention.
“[We advertised in] a lot of places that parents look because… it’s the parents that are going to be writing the check ultimately, so those are the people you want to be targeting,” McManus said. “I think [the posters and online presence has] really helped, just things like that that people look at a lot. It’s hard to just go out and get the word out about it in a school of 2,000 people and that’s one of the easiest ways.”

Every sale counts in yearbook’s need for money

At the beginning of the year, the cost of the book was $45 and is currently $50. While Bjornstrom is excited for this year’s book, he said the cost seems “a bit expensive for what it is.” McManus said RBHS’ book costs $60,000 to make and print. She believes making the book $50 is fair considering other schools price their yearbook as high as $80 to maintain income.
“We have to make up [the deficit of] money and that’s one of the big reasons we sell senior ads,” McManus said. “I mean, all schools do, but they really make up a lot of money that we maybe don’t make in selling the books so cheap. [Senior ads] make a lot of money because each spread, which is two full pages, [gets us] $720.”
Even with the worry involving sales and money, McManus believes the yearbook is a great way to remember high school years in the future.
“In 20 years, you’re not going to remember every single thing that you did in high school. You’ll remember the big events and the dances, but you’re not going to remember the little details,” McManus said. “I think looking back on that when you have your own family and kids in high school, you’re going to want to remember what you did on a typical Tuesday, a typical A day [and] what classes you had and what kind of stuff you did. You’re not going to remember those little details and it’s always fun to remember the little things that you wouldn’t necessarily think about or keep in mind.”