The CITE, a blog published by the National Association of College Stores, takes a look at the intersection of education and technology, highlighting issues that range from course materials to learning delivery to the student experience. Comments, discussion, feedback, and ideas are welcome.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Some Questions for Amazon@Purdue

Purdue University went all out for its new Amazon@Purdue bricks-and-mortar location in the Krach Leadership Center on the West Lafayette, IN, campus. The university president was there to cut a ceremonial ribbon and student employees in Amazon gear gave away gift cards and apparel to students in attendance.

But not everyone was impressed.

Tom Frey, owner of the University Book Store, which is technically off-campus but only by a few feet, has given lawyers a list of 57,000 titles Amazon is selling below his costs, according to a report by the public broadcasting station on campus. The University Book Store has been a licensed retailer of Purdue items and has sold textbooks to Purdue students for 75 years.

Bobby Haddix, the Purdue student body president, also questioned giving space in a building designed for students to an outside corporate entity. Amazon even flew Haddix out to Seattle so he could learn more about the company after he made two presentations against the idea to school trustees.

“This is a brand-new building. It was supposed to be specifically dedicated for students,” Haddix told the radio station. “And the decision was made over the summer while there weren’t a lot of students here to share their input to give this conference room away.”

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