Bookstore User Guide

Bookstore User Guide

Welcome, welcome, to the Bookstore-specific section of the Hero User Guide! In reality, this entire guide is for you. Having context on what each user experiences on Hero is critical to your ability to get the most out of this platform and give the most back to your users. There are a lot of tools here for you and we’ll do our best to make it all make sense.

Start by reading through this section, and then branch out to the Faculty, Coordinator, and Student perspectives. Or if you'd rather chip away at the whole thing all in one place, you can find that here as well. 

Otherwise, here we go! We're excited to introduce you to Hero. Click any title to skip around. Click any picture to zoom in!


Bookstore User Guide

Embracing Hero



Back to:Top|User Guide

Bookstore User Guide

Department Dashboard

This is the Department Dashboard, where you’ll land every time you log in. It’s a quick snapshot of the progress of adoptions across your campus, and it has a couple of tools embedded to help you communicate with faculty.

The three bars below the grey banner show how many adoptions have not been worked by your store (AKA the Store Backlog), how many adoptions are Complete, and how many adoptions are Endorsed (meaning the faculty have verified for accuracy - some campuses use this and some do not - it’s not a requirement of the system but we think it's neat).

Each department has its own summary as well. Click View Course Summary in any department to see a popup like this:

Now you can check up on an entire department's progress, course by course. 

Back to:Top|User Guide

Tools for Faculty Communication


Back to the main page here, there’s a nifty little link which allows you to mass email faculty (or do it one at a time). We’ll show you that on the next page. Click Email Faculty in the upper right to take a whack at it. 

Here's the popup that appears when you click Email FacultyWhen you open up the email modal, there are two options - or templates.

The first is an Invitation to Endorse. This is an email asking faculty to double-check their adoption if they were not the ones who made the adoption (if, for example, a coordinator performed the adoption for them - read the Coordinator Guide for more on this). Only the faculty who meet this criterion (not having endorsed their adoption) show up in the list of Choose people to send email to. From this list, you can deselect and reselect any you’d like.  You can then add a custom message to the open message field, and once you click Send, Hero will email every checked name on the list.

The default message is quite generic, simply letting them know they have an adoption made, and to please check it for accuracy. Your custom message appends between that canned message and the thank you signature at the bottom. Here's how the basic message looks:

Here’s the auto-generated email for the Invitation to Endorse. Notice it pulls in the faculty member's name as the greeting, automatically inserts the course and section numbers and gives them a link to jump from the email directly to Hero.

Your (optional) custom message goes where we've marked it in the screenshot, and can be as long as you'd like. You can of course forego any kind of special messaging. It’s only there if you’d like to add to the canned template.

You'll likely use the second email template more often. It is the Invitation to Adopt. This one requires a Submission Date. And again, this will filter to only those faculty who have not yet submitted an adoption. The template asks them to login to Hero and adopt and gives them the adoption deadline you select. As before, you can add any custom message you’d like before you click Send. Here's how it looks:

Here’s the auto-generated email for the Invitation to Adopt. Notice it pulls in the faculty name as the greeting, automatically inserts the course and section numbers, informs them of the date you selected, and gives them a link to jump from the email directly to Hero.

Your (optional) custom message goes where we've marked it in the screenshot, and can be as long as you'd like. You can of course forego any kind of special messaging. It’s only there if you’d like to add to the canned template.

Back to:Top|User Guide

Engagement Message

Two things. First (this isn't new), Hero displays a message in an empty section to encourage a faculty member to either adopt or mark that no materials will be required. The default message is rather tame, like this: 

Second (this is new), we've created the ability for you -- the Campus Admin -- to be able to edit this message to fit your institution's culture. It's in a new banner at the top of the Department Progress screen: 

Once you click Set Engagement Message, you'll get a popup like this. Click in the box to edit it: 

This message disappears once adoptions have been added and Finalized, or once someone's marked that there are No Learning Materials Required. It's just meant to motivate someone to start clicking. 

Back to:Top|User Guide

Title Research: The Adoption Workflow


Hero is integrated with some of the mainstream point of sale platforms in the market, but not all of them (yet!). Once integrated, adoptions made on Hero flow directly into your point of sale, and this section on adoptions workflow won’t mean as much. But Hero does have a good adoptions workflow on a completely standalone basis, and there are even some benefits to not having a direct integration. We’ll assume for this section that Hero is not integrated with your point of sale as that is the best way to fully understand the adoption workflow Hero offers.

If you’ve read the faculty section of this guide, you understand how adoptions work. Once an adoption is made, it flows to a few different places from which you can manage it. The key places are:

  • The Title Research page,
  • The All Items Report, and
  • The Deleted Items Report (to double check that you haven’t sourced any deleted items)

Lets start with the Title Research page. 

Navigate to this page using the menu. It’s called Title Research

This is a visual adoptions tracking queue which will only show you the adoptions you haven’t worked.

Once you’re here, you’ll need to select a Term, and then the Department you want to work. And here is something to remember about this page: this is a visual adoptions tracking queue which will only show you the adoptions you haven’t worked.

Remember the pink Store Backlog progress bar back on your Department Dashboard? The adoptions that contribute to that bar are the same ones listed here.

This is pretty neat. If there are adoptions within a department that haven’t been worked, that department shows up in this list. Once you’ve worked the adoption and clicked Confirm (we’ll show you this in a minute), and if you’ve done that for every adoption in the department, the department disappears from this list.

So if you have course materials managers who are assigned to different departments, they can tend this queue very efficiently. If their work is done, the departments won’t show up. But the second a new adoption comes in, the department will be baaaack...and they’ll know there’s another adoption to work. Trust us, you’ll get the hang of it. Let’s take a look at it next:

We’re here in the biology department , and in real life, there are about 30 adoptions on this page. But they all follow the same pattern. From here you can see:

  • The department, course and section
  • The faculty member's name in blue (You can click this link to fire off an email to them)
  • An indicator letting you know if the faculty member has endorsed the adoption or not
  • Any comments to the bookstore
  • Any comments to the students (You’d see those opposite Comment to Store above.)
  • A link to Jump to Learning Materials (You can jump from here to the actual course page where this adoption resides if you want to get a better look at things.)
  • A Confirm button

Once you’ve reviewed the adoption and have taken it into your point of sale (most users literally copy and paste the ISBN from Hero to their POS), you click Confirm and the item goes away. Boom. It’s gone.

Of course, it always resides on your All Items Report, which we’ll talk about next. But that’s how you work the Title Research log. It’s just a visual log of all incoming adoptions, and a methodology to remove them from your workflow once you’ve worked them. Let’s talk about the All Items Report:

Back to:Top|User Guide

Title Research: The All Items Report

On the Stats page (which we’ll talk about in depth later), there is a report called the All Items Report. It captures the whole story of adoptions on your campus. It shows the department, course, section, ISBN, title, requirement level, author, edition, timestamp, and comment to both stores and students for every adoption in the term. You can run and filter and sort this report in many different ways to produce important adoption information. Let’s talk about the Deleted Items Report next. 

Back to:Top|User Guide

Title Research: The Deleted Items Report

As a backstop, Hero has a Deleted Items Report as well. Items that are deleted in Hero will no longer show up in the All Items Report since it’s only a snapshot of all current adoptions. But there may be cases where the item was adopted after you had reviewed and gotten ready to source it. The Deleted Items Report will show you every item that has been deleted from Hero as a failsafe. Just so you don’t source items you don't need. If you’re working your adoption log on the Title Research page, in theory this report isn’t needed, but it can offer good peace of mind and catch what otherwise could be costly mistakes. As you’ll see it has the same information as the All Items Report, minus the comment to stores and students.

The Title Research page, the All Items Report and the Deleted Items Report work together to give you a full picture of adoptions on your campus, and the tool required to work those adoptions.

There’s one last thing we need to mention for those who do have Hero integrated to their point of sale, and that’s the Adoptions Awaiting Finalization.

Adoptions Awaiting Finalization

For an integrated point of sale, Hero passes the adoption to the point of sale once faculty click Finalize at the end of their adoption process. But there’s always the chance that faculty might not click that button! So we’ve provided a page for you to see at any given time the sections which have adoptions that are not yet finalized. Just navigate to the menu and click Adoptions Awaiting Finalization.

Simply click on any link in this page to jump to the section itself. The only way for sections to disappear from this page is for them to be deleted from their course entirely, or for them to be finalized.

OK, let’s jump into the Stats page!

Back to:Top|User Guide

Stats Page


We’ll have to take this in pieces because this page is a bit intense. Hero does all it can to bring you data that can be useful not just to your store, but your campus leadership as well. It captures many valuable data points by term, and allows you to track this data over time.

The first part that we’re showing here captures the completeness of adoptions turned in. You’ll see very quickly how many sections have adoptions, how many don’t, and how many do not require learning materials.

Hero does all it can to bring you data that can be useful not just to your store, but your campus leadership as well. 

To the right you’ll see four reports which provide a very comprehensive view of your adoption activity. We’ll go into the Department Summary and Sections Without Adoptions reports in detail, but we’ve already covered the All Items and Deleted Items reports in the Title Research workflow section above. Let's start with the numbers in the blocks at the bottom. 

The pink block shows how many unique adoptions exist for the term (You can select the term at the top right.).

The cyan block shows how many OERs are adopted.

The yellow block shows how many times the faculty were shown the price of the content they were adopting.

Moving down the Stats page we come into some Engagement Data. Everything below the Engagement Data heading is driven by date range, but always still filtered by the term selected at the top of the page. This allows for any kind of refinement of engagement data for the term.

The Digital Adoption area shows how often digital negotiation was offered during the adoption process, and how many times it was selected and subsequently adopted successfully (or not). And after all is said and done, this section shows how much digital negotiation is saving students on average per title.

This data can be used to report back on exactly what you’re doing to lower the cost of content on campus.

The Price Increase Awareness area shows how many times Hero let faculty know that the item they are currently adopting is more expensive than what they used before. In some cases, faculty change their mind. When they do, we capture that. You can see that in 8 of 31 times, the faculty elected to stick with their previously adopted content instead of moving to a more expensive, often newer, edition. Fascinating, no?

This data can be used to report back on exactly what you’re doing to lower the cost of content on campus. Pretty neat.

Moving down even further, this simply shows how many of each user type has visited Hero during the date range you have selected.

And finally, your Transaction Activity. As students shop on Hero we capture the stats. This shows not finalized sales, but the amount of dollars added to a cart. Since Hero doesn’t actually transact itself (it only passes students to your store and other websites), we capture only the amount of dollars that went to checkout. The actual sale amount is lower.

Alrighty, next let’s talk about your Department Summary Report and Sections Without Adoptions. Remember, both of these reports are found in the top section of the Stats page.

Back to:Top|User Guide

Price Insights 

What sets your store apart from your competition in the long run, besides an innovative culture, engaging service, and a wonderful relationship with a vendor who loves you to pieces, is the precision of your data. Pricing analytics are a great way to start. With Hero, you have the ability to compare your store's pricing with pricing in the market, and adjust it down -- or up! -- as necessary. 

It's all in a simple page we're calling Price Insights. Click your menu button within Hero to get there, then select a term. You'll be greeted with a simple dashboard a lot like our Stats page: 


Up top here, you can see at a glance how your store's retail pricing compares to the market. Green is good, but not too much green. At a certain point, you're selling your books too cheaply. At the same time, if your pricing dips well into the red, nobody will buy from you. 

Which, you might say, is all well and good. But unless you can see how each individual ISBN stacks up against the market's average pricing, this page is just a bunch of pretty colors so far. 

You're right! Scroll down: 


The rest of the page is a straight comparison. It's your ISBNs, your store's New and Used Pricing, the Average Market Price, and, for your convenience, the Difference, if any. 

If you're overwhelmed, just click the Difference button. Look at those top offenders, adjust them, and you'll be doing yourself a ton of good. 

If you want to slice the data further, you're welcome to! Click that Download Report button to export the full list to a .csv file.

Back to:Top|User Guide

Department Summary Report

The Department Summary Report is wildly valuable. There are many columns, so we’ll show this in two images. This report tells you the on-time adoption rate of every department on campus. That on-time designation is defined, per department, by the following statistics:


  • Adoptions turned in by the Adoption Due Date
  • Adoptions turned in by the First Day of Class
  • Adoptions Never Turned In



These dates (Adoption Due Date and First Day of Class) are defined in your Control Dates page, which we’ll visit in a bit.

Here’s the second half of the report, showing adoptions in by the First Day of Class, and those which were Never Turned In. This is massively valuable. This can be taken to any department on campus, or given to the provost to help understand the HEOA performance on your campus.

Let’s move on to the Sections Without Adoptions report:

Back to:Top|User Guide

Sections Without Adoptions Report

The Sections Without Adoptions Report is organized by department, and is simply a way for you to quickly see all sections missing adoptions. Note: if a section is marked as No Learning Materials Required, it counts as an adoption, and isn’t reflected on this report. This report is just for sections that haven't received any attention, and should have. 

Let’s move to Managing Sections, which may be important to the accuracy of reporting on your campus.

Back to:Top|User Guide

Managing Sections


The better name for this page is probably “Mark Sections as 'No Learning Materials Required' in Bulk.” So why didn’t we name it that? We don’t know!

Navigate to this page by finding Section Management in the main menu. You’ll come to a page which requires you to select your Term and Department, and will then open up a list of all courses and sections for the department. Here's how that looks:

The reason this page exists is this: there are often many sections on any given campus that will never have learning materials. Maybe they are PE classes or labs. They never require adoptions and faculty will never log in to mark them as No Learning Materials Required. However, it is important that every single section on campus indicates whether or not materials are required. This is key to meeting the requirements of HEOA.

So, rather than begging faculty to login and mark sections as No Learning Materials Required, and rather than you logging into each section one at a time to do this, you can use this shortcut page. Not every campus will need this shortcut, but if yours does, you've probably already said, "Aha!"

Opening up any Department will list every course and section in the department.

Sections with black squares have learning materials adopted already and can’t be changed here.

Sections with empty blue squares mean there are no learning materials yet, and you can in theory check the box. If you check the box it is exactly as if the faculty had clicked No Learning Materials Required on the Course Catalog page. This will mark the course as No Learning Materials Required, which counts as a completed adoption, fulfills requirements of HEOA, and relays the information to any student looking at the course. It’s just a shortcut, but a super handy one.

Sections with checked blue squares are sections that you've already addressed in this page. If you want to undo what you just did, just click them again to uncheck them (or head to the Course Catalog page). 

Back to:Top|User Guide

Managing Users

As a Campus Admin you have the power to establish user levels within Hero through the Users page. And you’ll need to use this. Once Hero is implemented on your campus, it will contain the name and email of every person on campus. It’s from here that you can assign people to different roles. Those roles are:

  • Student: No kind of assignment needed. Hero can tell a user is a student via the enrollment file from your registrar’s office.
  • Faculty: No kind of assignment needed. Hero can tell a user is teaching classes via the course file from your registrar’s office.
  • Coordinators: You do need to assign these users.
  • Campus Admin: You do need to assign these users.

To assign a Coordinator, simply search for the user using the search bar at top left. Use an email if at all possible. If not, just use their name.

Once you’ve located them, click on the user. This will open the information you see to the right. To make them a Coordinator, simply click Coordinator, and then select any departments you want to assign them below. You can assign multiple people to the same department. If you want to understand the value of Coordinators, read the Coordinators' section of this user guide. This is a powerful role. On the Users page here, you're designating which departments belong to these great department staff. You can change and modify this at any time.

To assign a Campus Admin, simply click Campus Admin. This is designed for people on your store staff who need access to everything we’re going over here in the Bookstore section of the Hero user guide. The primary Admin user on campus can modify these permission levels at any time.

That’s about all you need to know about users. Once you fiddle around in here a little, it will all make good sense. The reset password link is only for campuses which are not implemented with Single Sign On (SSO). It allows you, as the Admin, to assign new passwords to users, though most won’t have to do this because your implementation is more likely to include Single Sign On.

Back to:Top|User Guide

Managing Vendors

Navigate here through the main menu by selecting Vendors.

Students and faculty see the price of your competition as they perform adoptions and seek to acquire content. This page dictates who does or doesn’t show up in the price comparison panel for faculty and students. In order to fulfill the spirit of HEOA, we encourage campuses to keep all vendors toggled on, but it’s up to you.

As your students shop, and if they purchase items from your competitors instead of your store, you do earn a commission of 4% of the transaction amount. So your store still benefits when students choose a competitor. Hero also gives you an indication of how transparent your price strategy is. As you toggle vendors off, your transparency score may be reduced. If you toggle off Amazon for example, your transparency score will fall by a large margin. This of course is just an internal indicator.

Note: You do need to have Vendors enabled for two other reasons: 

  • First, enabling RedShelf as a vendor also enables the possibility of Digital Negotiation at your store. So you might want that turned on. 
  • Second, Hero pulls its market pricing through the vendors. So if you have all vendors turned off, you won't see any pricing for your adoptions. 

If you want to hear more about Vendors and the Transparency Score, we thought it was important enough to give the subject its very own post a few months ago. If you're at all scratching your head right now, then we'd bet dollars to donuts that we know the question you're asking. That article answers it, so click away. 

Back to:Top|User Guide

Using the Student Booklist Printout

There’s a nifty little feature atop every student’s booklist. Whether they login via SSO or as a guest to build a course list, from the Courses page, there is a Print button. This is to make life easy inside your store. You can print this summary for students and help them find their books quickly. It’s great.

Back to:Top|User Guide

Terms Page

Navigate here by finding Terms in the main menu.

Terms and Control Dates are partners in crime. Unlike Control Dates, however, with a proper POS integration you’ll never really visit the Terms page. It should populate automatically by virtue of the files Hero consumes from the Student Information System (SIS - we refer to this casually as the “registrar’s office” at times as well). This page will show you which terms have come across the system, meaning they are available in Hero. But the magic really happens with Control Dates, so let’s go there.

Back to:Top|User Guide

Setting Control Dates

Navigate here by finding Control Dates in the main menu.

Control Dates basically tell your active terms when certain events should happen, and how your term should report certain data. So hopefully this makes sense: you have terms, and your terms then ask the Control Dates page “Hey, will you take note of the important events that will happen relative to….well, me, the term?” The Control Dates page says yes, of course, and those four important events are:

Start and End Dates: These are the timeframes in which the term will be visible to students. The term will load into Hero from the SIS long before the official Start Date. This is important because faculty need to do adoptions and you need to source content well before students go to class. The Start Date you select here actually means “When do you want students to be able to see this term, and potentially buy materials for their classes?” This is normally the day registration opens. The End Date is the date far enough past the end of the term that you do not believe students will be accessing Hero to search for course materials for that term any longer.

(The Make Primary checkbox, by the way, tells the system which term the students should see first when they login. Just to make their default landing page / search experience as intuitive as possible.)

It's not super intuitive where to find the next two important dates. You have to click on the Type drop down menu, the one that says Select a Term....

The two important dates to set are: Open for Adoptions (the date that adoptions are due), and Class in Session (the first day of class). These dates carry to the Department Summary Report. If these dates aren’t set, your Department Summary Report can’t report the on-time performance of departments. But don’t worry, you can set these at any time, for any time, even in the past.

Let's do these together: 

Once you’ve selected a term, you’ll come to a smaller page. From here you’ll need to select the Type dropdown to find these Control Dates. Select open-for-adoptions to set your adoption dates. Then simply tell Hero when adoptions open and when they close for the term.

Then do this exact same thing for class-in-session. Select this and tell Hero exactly when classes start, and when they end for the term.

After that, just hit Save.

Back on the control dates page you will see the Open for Adoptions and Class in Session rows with the same term designation and the dates you selected. If for every term you have a Semester, an Open for Adoptions, and a Classes in Session designation with corresponding dates, you’ll know you’re in good shape.

Back to:Top|User Guide

Disabled Sections

And finally, Disabled Sections. Since Hero is consuming information directly from the registrar’s office, it may reflect sections open for adoption one day, and then your registrar will delete a course, section or handful of sections altogether. Well, that’s just fine, but we want Hero to let you know when that happens. So, Hero captures all the “disabled sections.” Come to this page whenever you want to know which sections were active in your student information system, and now are not.

Back to:Top|User Guide

Embracing Hero

Well, what more can we say. We hope you find this user guide helpful. Most of all, we hope you’ll embrace Hero. It’s an incredibly inexpensive piece of software that we believe will change the world. That might sound little over the top, but hear us out: 65% of students are going without some course materials today because they are too expensive. 50% of students are choosing their courses based on the cost of content. The cost of content is fundamentally altering student career trajectories and impacting student success. Hero addresses this head on.

Hero is a comprehensive course materials discovery and adoptions management platform. It brings objectivity and transparency to faculty to help them make good content decisions while considering the cost to students, and we’ve watched it consistently change faculty behavior as they’ve become more exposed to the cost of the content they’re choosing.

Hero has the power to nudge the cost of content downward. And if content costs less, more students will use it. If more students use it, their chances of success will increase. And if the content is more affordable, they might stay on their intended career path or chase the thing they’re most interested in. That just has to matter. It does matter, and over the long term, we think it matters to a lot of people. Maybe even the entire world.

Signing off,

- The team at Sidewalk

PS: If you want to keep reading, don't forget our Faculty, Coordinator, or Student User Guides, or catch the entire Guide in one place here. If you have any questions, grab your nearest Customer Success Manager or shoot an email to You'll be glad you did. 

Back to:Top|User Guide

Have more questions? Submit a request


Please sign in to leave a comment.
Powered by Zendesk