This blog is dedicated to the topics of Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education. it is intended as an information source for the college store industry, or anyone interested in how course materials are changing. Suggestions for discussion topics or news stories are welcome.

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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Campus Retail Innovation: Book Options, Store Design

Innovation comes in many forms for collegiate retailers. Two campus stores were recognized at the 2016 Campus Market Expo (CAMEX) March 4-8 in Houston, TX, for their very different approaches to supporting their institutions.

UC Davis Stores, University of California, Davis, received the $5,000 Innovation Achievement Award prize from the NACS Foundation for its Inclusive Access program, which has saved students up to 70% off the cost of their course materials in some 40 classes. The stores negotiated with textbook publishers to provide students with access to digital versions of their books. Students pay a fee that’s much lower than the price of a print book; the publishers are able to drop the price because nearly all enrollees are guaranteed to pay, rather than buying used copies.

The stores focused on courses using more expensive books (typically $100 or more for used books or rentals) with low sales. Due to the cost, some students tried to complete the course without a book or at least waited a couple of weeks before purchasing. The program ensures students have their reading materials right on the first day of class and don’t get behind.

Honorable mention for the Innovation Achievement Award went to the USD Torero Store, University of San Diego, for its creative use of technology and contemporary retail-space design concepts to transform the traditional campus bookstore into a destination spot on campus. The store, renovated in 2015, now features large video screens, elaborate lighting, a virtual mirror, a technology support desk, and movable fixtures to enable use of flex space.

The store also offers up-to-date mobile checkouts and e-commerce kiosks. There is a demonstration area with free classes and room for live performances.

A NACS webinar discussing how the USD Torero Store undertook this renovation metamorphosis, even reducing its size in the process, will be held Thursday, March 31, beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern. For more details, visit the description page for The College Store of the Future webinar; registration is required in advance.

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