Follett will replace Barnes & Noble as the BSU campus bookstore supplier on April 13.
Every 10 years, state law requires the University to option up its bookstore contract. For Bemidji State, this process began last fall. The committee was comprised of three Student Association-appointed students, a faculty member, BSU business manager Robin Sylvester, and the Director of Procurement and Logistics. Bill Maki, Vice President of Finance and Administration was also involved in the process.
During the selection process, Follett and Barnes & Noble were the only two suppliers who submitted proposals to the Bookstore Request for Proposal Committee. The final decision was made in February.
“The area that Follett edged out Barnes & Noble that gave them the advantage was the cost/value to the university — commission rates, investment, etc.,” said Maki.
According to Maki, the list of criteria fell under four concepts: understanding of proposal objectives, quality/comprehensibility of proposal, qualifications, and cost/value to BSU. Beneath these headings were items such as textbook programs, delivery of service methods, agreements with other schools and universities of the state of Minnesota, commission rate to the school, and other financial and capital investments.
Textbook programs such as rental and e-books will likely still be available, but may change a little according to the current store manager Dustin Enockson, a Barnes & Noble employee.
“[Barnes & Noble’s] rental and digital system is different from Follett’s, but I assume that both will remain options for students,” said Enockson.
As far as student employees in the bookstore, current employees will have to apply to Follet if they wish to work for the new bookstore.
“It is possible many of the existing staff and managers will remain in the store,” Maki said.
Book prices are not expected to change, according to Enockson. Those prices are set by publishers so the cost to students is unlikely to be affected.
Barnes & Noble will halt operations on April 8, and Follett will open its doors on April 13.
Although the change will be mostly behind the scenes, Maki said, “You should see strong student service and a company that will stay abreast of the newest technologies.”