Barnes & Noble will operate all of the University of Connecticut’s bookstores starting June 1. The Board of Trustees approved the bookstore selection committee’s decision on Wednesday morning.
In an email to the student body, President Susan Herbst wrote that the transition will be “nearly seamless.”
Over the next 18 months, Barnes & Noble will make significant changes to the flagship bookstore on Hillside Road in Storrs as well as to the other UConn bookstore locations throughout the state, Herbst wrote.
“No bookstore location will close for any significant period of time, so service to each of our campus communities will not be interrupted,” Herbst wrote.
Herbst said that the new operator will bring in revenue and promised that her administration would devote the money to financial aid and student services.
“This is especially welcome in an era that has seen frequent shortfalls and cuts to UConn’s state funding,” Herbst said. “This revenue is not theoretical; it is a certainty thanks to the contractually guaranteed minimums we have built into the contract.
Barnes & Noble agreed to hire the staff from the UConn Co-op Bookstore after it closes at their current salary levels, according to UConn Today. It will also host at least 100 community events each year.
The university announced on March 11 that it would close the 41-year-old UConn Co-op Bookstore. At that time, the bookstore selection committee was reviewing proposals from multiple operators.
The Co-op’s leadership, including its president Bill Simpson and board chairman Tim Dzurilla, had argued throughout the selection process that the non-profit and student-run Co-op would serve the needs of students better than a national corporation.
“The change (to national companies) is not unique to UConn; the business model of campus bookstore operations is changing dramatically nationwide,” wrote Kristen Cole for UConn Today. “Currently about 50 percent of colleges and universities outsource their college bookstore, according to Campus Bookstore Consulting, an independent firm.”
Chris McDermott is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.