This article provides an overview of Veracross integration with the eFollett “Book Now” online bookstore service. This integration makes it seamless and simple for parents to buy textbooks for their child(ren)’s classes. If your school does not already have this integration and is interested in enabling it, contact your Account Manager.
This integration is straightforward for users (parents in the Veracross Parent Portal) and makes it simple for parents to find and purchase the textbooks for their students.
Parents of students will see the link as a button underneath each Student’s “Links” section in the Parent Portal (see screenshot), and clicking the link opens a new tab in the web browser. Schools may filter which students this link appears for. This link brings the parent to the online eFollett bookstore with all the course materials displayed, and with a click the parent can fill the online cart with those course materials. All of the student’s enrollments in future or active classes (with no withdraw date) will display even if there are no books for a class, clearly indicating to the parent that both classes with books and classes without books are being presented.
If a family has multiple children, the parent can click the links for the children in sequence, and the user’s web browser cookies will fill one cart with all the books. After the parent clicks the link for the final child in the household, the parent can then proceed to checkout at eFollett.
In order to enable eFollett integration, your school must first have an account with eFollett for their “Book Now” service. If your school already has an eFollett account, enabling this integration is purely additive and should not require a complicated launch process.
Configuration within eFollett
When setting up your school’s booklist within eFollett for the upcoming term(s),
- use Veracross Internal Course ID for the “Course Code” value in eFollett. This is what maps the Veracross data for the student’s class enrollments to the booklist data in eFollett.
- Consider which Terms should be configured in eFollett, since Veracross will use one eFollett term at a time to send parents to the bookstore cart. This can be used to configure a single booklist in eFollett for the year, or it can be used to configure different term- and year-specific booklists in eFollett, such as a separate Semester 1 and Semester 2, and Summer booklists, with a new booklist for each term in the next school year
The booklist in eFollett typically should not require regular updates or management. Typically, the booklist is set up in eFollett only once per year, or once per term; it is managed only as frequently as necessary whenever the booklists change from one “term” to another.
- The Course IDs that are included in the link parents click to eFollett will be for all the classes the student is enrolled in with an “Active” or “Future” class status, for which there is no “withdrawn date” on the student’s class enrollment record. (Withdrawn classes won’t be included). In order to remove individual classes from this integration, the class status could be set as “on hold”.
- The “Follett Term Name” system parameter controls which eFollett term the link is configured for. When preparing for an upcoming term, school admins will want to update this value to the eFollett “term” that currently require book purchases.
- Example 1: “Axiom Academy” only configures their booklist with one “term” in eFollett. Because it is year-specific, it allows them to have a different booklist year-to-year. In this example, the name of that term in eFollett for the upcoming year has been configured as “Y2016” by the admins configuring the booklist in eFollett. In order for the booklist link from Veracross to display the “Y2016” books configured within eFollett, the “Follett Term Name” System Parameter in Veracross needs to be set as “Y2016” in preparation for launch.
- Example 2: “Bellevue School” configures their booklist with two separate “terms” in eFollett, because most classes at their school are semester classes. This allows them to have a different booklist not only year-to-year, but semester-to-semester as well. In this example, the names of the terms in eFollett for the upcoming year have been configured as “S116” and “S216” respectively by the admins configuring the booklist in eFollett. In order for the booklist link from Veracross to display the “S116” books configured within eFollett, the “Follett Term Name” System Parameter in Veracross needs to be set as “S116” in preparation for launch, and can be updated to “S216” when preparing to send parents to the bookstore for the semester two classes.
- Veracross will need to be provided with your school’s bookstore merfnbr value. This is the unique bookstore ID provided by eFollett for your school’s account.
- The Portal Link that is configured for this integration will allow for the grade level range filtering, or group filtering (like any other portal link), allowing schools to enable this link to only appear for a set of users rather than all parents at the school. The most common use for this kind of filtering might be to enable the link only for Upper School and Middle School students if those are the only set of students for whom there will be books in the bookstore.
- Additionally, schools may rename the link (the link text that parents see as a clickable link). The default text provided by Veracross will say “Buy Textbooks,” but that can be changed to some other text by the school if desired.
- Schools are encouraged to maintain their booklist within Veracross as the database of record, but it is not strictly necessary to manage the core booklist in Veracross.
The link generates a course list for the child, which directs the user to the Follett bookstore, which will show all the Books that the school has configured in Follett for that courselist. Note that this course list is generated for current year classes, so this integration requires that you Close the school year in Veracross to use it for fall booklists.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question 1: Does this integration automatically sync data between eFollett and Veracross?
Answer 1: No, eFollett and Veracross do not communicate with each other, besides the real-time and instant manner in which the parent clicks a link and is brought to eFollett with their bookstore cart populated. Setting up the course booklist in eFollett is a manual process which should only need to occur a few times per year at most.
Question 2: When parents click the link, which courses will they see in eFollett?
Answer 2: The parents will see any courses the student is enrolled in, where the class enrollment “withdrawn date” is blank, for any class that is “Active” or “Future”. Additionally, the parents will only see the books for those courses that match the “Follett Term” system parameter value configured in Veracross.
Question 3: For parents with multiple children, what is the suggested way to fill one cart with all the books for all the children?
To carry over the content for each child in sequence:
- The parent should click the “Buy Textbooks” link from within Veracross for the first child
- A new window (the eFollett online bookstore) appears with the list of courses and course materials
- Click to Add course materials to the shopping cart
- Close the window and select the second student
- Click to Add course materials to the shopping cart
- The materials from the first add will still be in the cart because the parent is still in the same browser session.
Parents must enable cookies for this to work.
Question 4: Can we use this integration, to enable families to buy books for fall classes, in the late spring or summer, before closing/opening the school year in Veracross?
Answer 4: No, this integration is based on classes enrolled in the “Current School Year,” which rolls over when the school year is Closed.
Question 5: Can this integration use the Class ID instead of the Course ID? Different teachers of the same Course have chosen different books.
Answer 5: This integration was specifically designed to use Course ID for two unrelated reasons. (1) Courses in Veracross are designed to represent a shared curriculum of all the sections/teachers of that course. Differing booklists suggest different curriculum, which require separate courses. (2) Passing in class ID instead of Course ID could enable families to discover which sections students are enrolled in, and who their classmates or teachers are, earlier than schools may intend. For instance, it may be common to enable book-buying weeks or even months before publishing full section schedules to students and families, but if class ID is seen, it may be more possible for families to reverse-engineer their shared schedules.