University Bookstore outsourced to country’s largest academic retailer

Matthew Resenhoeft

Barnes and Noble College Bookstores, the country’s largest academic retailer, will begin operating the University Bookstore next month.

Last year a Bookstore Evaluation Committee recommended the university outsource the bookstore and continue the textbook rental program with Barnes and Noble.

The committee agreed that outsourcing offered the campus the prospect for a more responsive bookstore and textbook rental programs, said Andrew Soll, vice chancellor of business and student services, in a university news release.

The university would benefit from the extensive textbook program experience and national retailing expertise that Barnes and Noble offered, Soll said.

Three to four years ago, Student Senate wrote a resolution about looking into outsourcing the bookstore, Student Senate President Justin Hentges said.

Master of business administration students, along with a faculty member, also recommended outsourcing the bookstore after doing a study on it, Soll said.

The Bookstore Evaluation Committee, which consisted of students, faculty and administrators, researched what students would want in a bookstore, Hentges said. Then they came up with a price and sent out requests for proposals.

The university received proposals from Barnes and Noble and Follet and Wallace, Soll said. Follet and Wallace also operate college and university bookstores both on and off campus, he said.

“(Barnes and Noble) was the most responsive to the service standards we asked people to provide,” Soll said.

Hentges said that Barnes and Noble is going to continue using student workers. Barnes and Noble also offers an internship program to its student workers.

“(The internship) is a special training program on and off campus,” Soll said.

Once students complete the internship, they can become assistant managers or managers at smaller Barnes and Noble stores, Soll said.

The contract will continue through June 30, 2007.

The majority of the changes to the bookstore will take place during the summer, Soll said.

Barnes and Noble will change the layout of the bookstore, adding more cash registers, new display merchandise, accent carpeting and promotional signs, said Janine von Juergensonn, Vice President of Barnes and Noble College Bookstores.

Barnes and Noble will also provide a service for professor’s publishing. Professors will be able to take articles from different sources and create an anthology for students to use, Soll said.

In the future, the textbook rental program will be automated, which will make the process of renting books easier and faster, Soll said.

Hentges said that students won’t notice many changes at first, but in the long run, students will benefit.

Prices might decrease and the amount of services and products offered will increase, said Hentges, adding that the textbook rental system will stay the same.