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SMC bookstore signs contract with Follett

Alicia Smith | Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Saint Mary’s College recently contracted Follett Higher Education Group to assume operations of the Shaheen Bookstore, Richard Speller, vice president for finance and administration at the College said.

Follett will officially begin administration of the bookstore Oct. 20.

According to an e-mail sent to the student body Monday from Mike Hicks, director of campus stores, the bookstore will close Oct. 17 for training and inventory purposes and will reopen Oct. 25.

Speller said the College elected to discontinue managing the bookstore on its own for financial reasons.

“Bottom line, this move will save the College money,” Speller said. “The College will not have to anticipate demand, purchase and store large inventory in the form of textbooks, apparel and other merchandise.”

Speller said the College’s finance officials reviewed three different management companies and decided on Follett.

According to Speller, Follet has more than 1,600 independent campus stores, and is the leading supplier of bookstore services and used books in North America.

Speller said the University of Notre Dame and Holy Cross College both use Follett to manage their campus bookstores.

The college also selected Follett to operate the bookstore for its textbook rental program, according to Speller.

“Follett will offer new choices for students, most notably the option to rent textbooks,” Speller said. “Follett’s Rent-A-Text option, available to Saint Mary’s for the spring 2011 semester, could save students up to 50 percent on books.”

Speller said Follett will also offer students Caféscribe, a digital textbook program.

“Caféscribe gives students, and faculty, the freedom to search, highlight, take notes, cross-reference, sort text and connect with others using the same eTextbook,” Speller said.

Though the store’s management will change, Speller said students, faculty and staff can still expect to see quality merchandise within the store.

“They will not only bring in merchandise specific to Saint Mary’s College’s input and research, but the best practices and trends across higher education and the collegiate marketplace,” Speller said. “As a result, customers can expect to see top quality merchandise available both online and in the Shaheen Bookstore in the Student Center.”

Speller said even though new management will take over in mid-October, customers may not notice many changes until spring semester.

“When students return to campus in January, they will find that the store … is more spacious, with better traffic flow,” Speller said.

According to Speller, Follett will pay for the renovations made to the Student Center. Renovations include expanding into the space now occupied by the C-Store. Follett plans to make these changes during fall break.