April 8, 2015
Bryn Mawr taking control of campus bookstore
by Nick Davies
In a move that Shelf Awareness aptly describes as “a reversal of the usual college bookstore trend,” Bryn Mawr College has announced that it will reclaim control of its campus bookstore. The Pennsylvania liberal arts school brought in Follett Higher Education Group four years ago, but in a statement released last week, they confirm that they’ll be going back to an independent store.
Follett is a giant in the campus store business, providing infrastructure and management for colleges across the country. Chief Administrative Officer Jerry Berenson confirms that Bryn Mawr had turned to them in hopes of making it easier to compete with online retailers, but that “new technologies are now available to assist independent bookstores to price books competitively with on-line sellers. Also, excellent used book and book rental programs can now be more easily managed by an independent store.”
Berenson states that part of the school’s goal is to attract former customers who have drifted since the move to Follett, by bringing back more personal customer service and a connection with the community. He says, “We want to be a partner and resource for all campus departments, alumnae/i, visitors, and hopefully the local community.”
He further enthuses about the change, saying, “An independent store will provide better service to meet the academic program needs of the community and offer merchandise more attractive to all of its customers.”
Bryn Mawr is currently looking for a store manager to work directly with college administrators and the student body. The college will take over control of the bookstore this May, just after graduation.
Nick Davies was a publicist at Melville House.