Campus Bookstore Under New Management
The bookstore on campus officially opened as Barnes & Noble on Monday, April 23 under new manager Carla Oliver Bowens.
According to David Sklar, Executive Director of FSA, there are quite a few new features.
“Everything in the store is now going to be available online for pickup and delivery and there will be new tools online to see textbooks when registering for classes,” Sklar said. “It will help with affordability for students because there will be a larger selection of books to rent, more digital titles, and more used books.”
The official grand opening will take place on May 14, 15, 16, which coincides with cap and gown pick up where the bookstore will celebrate graduates, according to Bowens.
All of the current bookstore staff continues to work at the new Barnes & Noble, according to Sklar.
“I also love to hire students,” Bowens said. Temporary positions will be available around mid July when the store will look for applicants.
This summer, construction will start to connect the Student Center Building to the bookstore over the terrace and the plan is to then push the terrace back to maintain that outdoor space. Ultimately, the idea is to have a mall like entrance where students would not have to go outside to get to the bookstore.
According to Bowens, affordability is the buzzword on every campus and they understand that.
“Initially when a student signs up they go into the Google Play or Apple Store, search my college bookstore, and then search Westchester Community College, sign up, and they will receive an immediate coupon on the app for 25 percent off a logoed item and then they are now in touch with us so every time there is a promotion they will know about that, too,” said Bowens. “Basically, if a student does things at the right time, they will not have to pay full price.”
The new Barnes & Noble bookstore will sell used books and rentals, as well as used rentals which is best value as rental prices between are between 50 and 80 percent off the original price. Students can make little notes but have to keep the rentals in good condition.
“The other thing that we are bringing is our price matching program,” Bowens said. “We literally price match Amazon and even Barnes&Noble.com. There are some rules; if a textbook is being sold and shipped by amazon and it is at a lower price, we will match that price as long as it’s the same edition and format.”
Students will continue to be able to use Financial Aid to purchase and rent textbooks.
Bowens who is originally from the New York area and was born and raised in the Bronx is happy to be back home after working at the University of Albany and Fashion Institute of Technology Barnes & Noble campus stores.
“Two years from now we will have a completely different shopping experience,” Bowens said. “We want to encourage students now to feel as if the bookstore is the place to be. Seating will be introduced soon but in two years we are looking to install a whole cafe where we will probably serve Starbucks products. Of course at that time, we will be a real social hub. I would also like for clubs and organizations on campus to consider this a venue where they can have their events.”
The new Barnes & Noble will also provide logoed merchandise for student clubs at an affordable rate, according to Sklar.