Campus Bookstore Changes Hands

Photo by Holly Lipka.

Change is coming to the SUNY New Paltz campus bookstore as it falls under new management this year.

For the past five years, Neebo has been the primary owner and operator of the bookstore on campus. As of this summer, the bookstore will be managed by the Follett Corporation.

Last year, Follett bought out Neebo’s bookstore division, right around the time New Paltz needed to renew a contract with a bookstore operator. New Paltz Campus Auxiliary Services signed a new five-year contract with Follett Books confident in the changes the new bookstore would bring to the campus.

According to New Paltz bookstore assistant manager Fran Kwak, the 140-year-old family-owned business offers new alternatives to learning materials for students, along with cheaper books and school apparel.

Alternative learning materials include BryteWave, Follett’s newest form of digital textbooks. BryteWave has a digital library of over 100,000 textbooks, and since there is no physical textbook to be printed, it is cheaper for students to buy the books they need.

“They’re really up on the times and try to stay ahead of the technological curve,” Kwak said.

So far ahead that New Paltz is actually the pilot store for BryteWave and Follett’s new Point of Sales system.

Molly Salzmann, a third-year communication disorders major, has been working at the bookstore for two years and has worked for both Neebo and Follett. According to Salzmann, the new management is much better.

“The changes are great and the new Point of Sales system is more modern. The one with Neebo was kind of old, this one is easier to use when cashing out students” Salzmann said.

But cashing out is now a thing of the past as the bookstore no longer has its price match guarantee. With price match, the store would give students cashback if they found their textbooks at lower prices in retail locations other than in the bookstore.

Follet’s new policy still allows students refunds, but instead places the money on a gift card that can only be used in the campus bookstore.

Kwak said that she has received vary-

ing opinions about the new policy. The students who were used to the old price match policy are disappointed, they liked walking out with the cash.

According to Elio Distaola, director of public and campus relations for Follett, The company gets the ideas for many of its policies from students. By conducting surveys and tracking the feedback of newly marketed techniques, Follett tries to tailor its programs to the needs of students.

The gift card was a policy Follett put into place with students’ safety in mind. When students leave the bookstore with large amounts of cash, they are at risk.

Folett wanted to keep them safe by putting all that cash on plastic.

Along with cheaper apparel, digital textbooks and risk-free gift cards, Follett hopes to bring more new programs to the New Paltz campus in the future.

“With Follett, students will have an on campus resource that is committed to students,” said Distaola.