Follett School Solutions will become the operator of the Fullerton College bookstore due to continued decreases in revenue. FSS plans to refresh the online store and update the catalog of ebooks and textbooks come mid-November.
Students will have the same services currently available through the bookstore, such as online purchasing, delivery, ebook rentals and browsing for used and new textbooks. However, availability and accessibility will be more “robust,” VP of Administrative Services Rod Garcia said.
“The bookstore has been struggling financially, and people weren’t shopping in the store anymore,” Bookstore Director Nick Karvia said.
The loss of customers may be due to an increase in the amount of online access to textbooks and ebook rentals. Ebooks and rentals can be up to 60% percent cheaper than a print textbook.
According to Educationdata.org, full-time students at two-year public colleges spend the most on textbooks, an average of $1420 per school year, while showing some students work longer hours and skip meals to pay for required textbooks.
Students have started to look for less expensive alternatives when possible.
The steady loss in revenue led the college to outsource operations. Fullerton College’s goal is to improve student’s experience with the bookstore, whether they are browsing online or visiting in-store on campus.
FSS has proposed aesthetic changes and is expected to refurbish the interior of the bookstore.
Students and faculty collaborated as a panel in the approval process. A request for approval was submitted, and three companies sent proposals to the college to bid for the chance to manage operations.
Between FSS, Barnes & Noble, and Akademos, FSS was selected by the panel to modernize the on-campus and online store, Garcia said.
Current bookstore employees will transition into other roles on campus. The bookstore will still employ students under new management.
FSS has a 140-year history in supplying educational materials to schools K-12 and universities nationwide.
FSS works with 80,000 schools as a leading provider of educational content, both print and digital. They also serve as the largest campus retailer to colleges, managing 2,800 on-campus and e-commerce stores.
Follett’s mission statement is to bring together educational resources, such as products, services and technologies to empower student learning at all grade levels. Follett aims to provide an “interactive learning experience.” Their user-friendly and easy-to-navigate website is a testimony to this.
FSS has been operating the Cypress College bookstore for eight years.
Students will be able to find many of the same items currently available through the bookstore, such as apparel, textbooks, supplies and gifts.
A new website is expected to be launched when FSS takes on operations in November.