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Barnes & Noble to take over Brenau University bookstore

POSTED: March 16, 2008 5:01 a.m.
SCOTT ROGERS/The Times

Brenau University's manger of campus shops Pat Reynolds, left, and Evelyn Smith stay busy during the school's spring break, keeping the school's bookstore ready for when classes resume. The store will soon be moving, however, when Barnes & Noble takes over the small bookstore and moves it nearby to a larger facility where the school's current financial aid office is located.

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Brenau University has contracted with Barnes & Noble College Booksellers to manage the bookstore on the Gainesville campus and provide broader service to the university’s other campuses and online studies program.

Beginning this spring, the New Jersey-based operation will run the 400-square-foot bookstore in the basement of Owens Student Center on the Gainesville campus.

In the fall, the bookstore will move to the Feldman House at 510 Washington St., with Barnes & Noble continuing to handle store operations.

The new bookstore will occupy Feldman’s 1,200-square-foot main floor, with office space and storage on the floor above.

"We needed to do something to improve service to students and faculty, and we did not want to run a bookstore," said Wayne Dempsey, Brenau’s executive vice president and chief financial officer.

Feldman houses some financial aid operations, which will move into the business office, and some evening and weekend programs, which will move into the current bookstore in Owens, said school spokesman David Morrison.

Barnes & Noble operates more than 600 campus bookstores nationwide, including those at Harvard University, Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania in the Ivy League, and Georgia Tech, Mercer University and six other Georgia institutions.

The company addresses textbook needs for about 4 million students and 400,000 faculty members.

Ben S. Dixon, vice president of campus relations at Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, said he believes the new partnership "will greatly enhance daily campus life for Brenau students."

Brenau’s contract with the company will last five years, Morrison said.

The Brenau bookstore primarily provides textbooks and other classroom and course-related materials to students and faculty.

The new operation also will offer a selection of current fiction and nonfiction titles, plus an expanded array of university spirit wear and merchandise.

"If members of the public want to walk in and buy books or Brenau polo shirts, they will be able to do it," said Scott Briell, senior vice president for enrollment and student services at Brenau. "But this store primarily is for the benefit of students and faculty."

Barnes & Noble College Booksellers also features online inventories, which Briell said will be a big boost to all Brenau students, at other campuses or online.

A chief complaint directed at many college bookstores has been that booksellers don’t order enough books, likely because they want to avoid dealing with large inventories or paying shipping costs and restocking fees for sending unsold books back to publishers.

"By the time some students get their books, the course is half over," Briell said.

The new arrangement also should curb the costs of textbooks, he said.

Barnes & Noble College Booksellers owns some operations of MBS Textbook Exchange, which deals exclusively with used textbooks.

The relationship, coupled with Barnes & Noble College Booksellers’ buy-back policies, means students can recover a large part of the cost of expensive textbooks they may use for only one semester, Briell said.



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