There are plenty of reasons for college stores to consider offering a virtual online solution for course materials. The model can reduce costs while providing guaranteed commissions to make up for some of the lost revenue. The newfound space created by the absence of textbooks can also be dedicated to merchandise that produce higher margins.
The Florence O. Wilson Bookstore, The College of Wooster, Wooster, OH, gave the hybrid model a try, but soon discovered that a virtual solution was actually keeping students away. After two semesters, the store decided to offer textbooks again because a branded website with competitive prices simply became another place for Wooster students to search instead of the place to go for course materials.
“College stores have long provided value, serving faculty and students in equal measure with technology, processes, and expertise to support the academic needs of the institution,” Director Kevin Leitner, CCR, wrote in a LinkedIn post. “The hybrid model, while it offers some advantages, puts a college store in danger of disintermediation and irrelevance, the ultimate danger to a college store.”
Editor’s note: The CITE will be on hiatus as the NACS offices and warehouse in in Oberlin, Westlake, and Cincinnati, OH, as well as in California and Washington, D.C., are closed the week of Dec. 26-Jan. 2. Look for the next post to appear on Jan. 4, 2017. From all the staff of NACS Inc., have a safe and happy holiday season.