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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Imagining a New College Store

Albert Greco, professor of marketing at Fordham University, has predicted the market for printed textbooks will tumble about 95% by 2017. While that certainly paints a bleak picture for bricks-and-mortar booksellers, it doesn’t necessarily mean college stores should transition completely to being clothing outlets, according to Tony Sanfilippo in his Content Storage Unit blog.

Sanfilippo imagines a new campus store that partners with the library to offer students the option to either purchase or borrow their course materials. Librarians would be in charge of distributing the books and would help faculty find lower-cost or free alternatives.

He sees a store that utilizes a patron-driven acquisition business model where publishers find campuses with the most interest in their new text and make it available essentially on consignment basis for a fixed number of months. Stores would also become a dedicated place on campus where students and faculty go to locate alternatives to commercial publishing.

“Perhaps there’s nothing wrong with textbook prices, perhaps all faculty already see all the new scholarship in their respective fields at conferences, and maybe writing and publishing centers aren’t something campus communities need. Maybe,” Sanfilippo wrote. “But it seems much more likely that what most folks on campuses don’t need is another opportunity to purchase a tee shirt.”

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