Campus bookstore changes show promise

Photo by Blake Ashby

By Zoe Jennings

So far in my time at Lewis & Clark, I have never seen so many students sporting school merchandise as in the past few weeks. “Everything has to go! 50% Off All Merchandise Except Textbooks!” read the signs scattered around the school bookstore. With the LC bookstore transitioning to Barnes & Noble (B&N) ownership, students are suddenly buying all the school spirit-wear they couldn’t afford before.

Until now, students didn’t care enough about school spirit to sport LC’s logo, and if they did want to, most of us looked once at the price tags and quickly walked away. What used to be a $50 sweatshirt with an LC logo now costs half that and therefore looks much more appealing than it did before. I bought a sweatshirt for my mom and a sweater and a t-shirt for myself that would have normally cost me $130 total for only $65 a couple weeks ago. Several of my friends went Christmas shopping for family members in the LC bookstore because everything was suddenly so affordable. It’s sad that it took our bookstore closing to get students to buy so much merchandise from it, but at least our school looks much more spirited now, and it is evident we are ready for a change if we weren’t buying those things before. It doesn’t come as much of a surprise to me that B&N has bought the LC bookstore. Students have become less and less inclined to buy or rent textbooks and other items from our bookstore over the years because of the high prices. It is hard to predict what the prices will look like once B&N is in charge, but hopefully textbooks and other merchandise won’t be as expensive as they have been.  I feel bad that our bookstore is essentially going out of business, but this means hopefully cool new things for its future.

Personally, I am excited to see what B&N does with the place. I love shopping at normal B&N stores for new books and other book-related trinkets and I think they will definitely put some effort into selling new things at our bookstore that interest students. Yes, they are a big corporation that just wants to make money, but because of that they will be putting an effort into selling things that students will actually want to buy. It is possible textbook prices will go up, but it is easy enough for most students to buy or rent textbooks from Amazon for much cheaper if they need to. B&N can’t rely solely on us buying textbooks from them — they’ll have to sell other things that we’ll want and, honestly, I think that’s a win-win situation.

A big change will certainly spark more student interest and increase foot traffic in the bookstore, whether students buy items or not. I know some B&N-owned bookstores at big schools have cafes in them and they serve as a sort of student hub for studying and relaxing with friends. I doubt there’s enough space to host the same types of things at LC, but I bet B&N will put an effort into creating a fun, appealing environment for students to hang out in, or at least to visit every once in awhile. It’s sad to see our school forced to sell our bookstore to a big company, but it’s an exciting change that I think we’re ready for, and will hopefully be a positive one in the end.

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