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Follett Corp. to take over operation of University Bookstore

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A line starts here sign is set up at the university bookstore.
Students in the university bookstore gradually make their way to the front of the checkout line.
Photo by Lyndi Cochran | Editor in Chief

The University Bookstore has changed management from Texas State to a third party operator- the change could affect the price of books.

A lease contract is being negotiated between the University Bookstore and Follett Corp., a campus store management firm that manages over 1,200 stores across the country.The transition is expected to go into effect October or November of this year.

Alan Stratman, vice president of marketing at Follet Corp., said the new management will ease some of the financial burdens textbooks bring.

“Follett will introduce many new programs that will save students and their families money on course materials and support faculty goals,” Stratman said.

John Root, director of auxiliary services at Texas State, said on top of the possibility for better pricing, there will be a better availability of textbooks because of the company’s greater supply.

“If we’re out of a book here, they can just go to one of their (other) stores instead of going back to check with another publisher. Another store is fairly close by and (can) have it shipped in,” Root said.

The new management will ensure current bookstore employees will have the opportunity to continue working, said Dan Alden, director of procurement and strategic sourcing. This change was voted on by a specially formed committee that included Root.

“They have the kind of resources that we can’t have running it ourselves,” Root said.

Follett is also working with IBM to create a new website with an expected completion date in fall 2019.

“Planned upgrades include responsive design that drives optimal, effortless mobile-responsive shopping; refreshed site design with easy navigation that personalizes the site’s look, feel and content. (There will be) an ability to create and share a personal wish list, ideal for students starting their college career,” Stratman said.

In addition to new management and the possibility of lower prices, the bookstore is also undergoing a renovation to become a one-floor store. The decision to make these changes was independent of contracting a third party for the bookstore. However, Follett will be renovating the remaining space with new finishes and fixtures, as well as reconfiguring and updating the space.

The off-campus bookstore Colloquium is also owned by Follett Corp.

“Colloquium and Texas State will share common goals and partner in delivering best-in-class services, merchandise and pricing for the entire Texas State community,” Stratman said.

Possible options for Colloquium include a rental-only store or utilizing Colloquium’s parking for in-store pickups. There are no specific plans yet for how this store will be used, but Follett plans to utilize Colloquium to the university’s advantage.

The board of regents still has to vote on the final contract proposal.

“We expect to be issuing that contract at the August board meeting (where) we will present that for approval by the board of regents,” Root said.

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