Barnes & Noble College to replace WSU Bookstore

Barnes+%26+Nobles+College+replacing+the+Winona+State+University+Bookstore.+It+is+important+for+the+switch+to+happen+this+spring+semester+so+that+the+Barnes+and+Noble+may+be+acclimated+for+fall+2022.+Currently%2C+clothing+and+office+supplies+are+20+percent+off%2C+art+supplies+are+50+percent+off+and+clearance+items+are+an+additional+50+percent+off+at+the+Bookstore

Mohammed Islam

Barnes & Nobles College replacing the Winona State University Bookstore. It is important for the switch to happen this spring semester so that the Barnes and Noble may be acclimated for fall 2022. Currently, clothing and office supplies are 20 percent off, art supplies are 50 percent off and clearance items are an additional 50 percent off at the Bookstore.

Gabriel Hathaway, features editor

The Winona State University Bookstore is having extreme discount sales to clear out inventory in preparation for Barnes & Noble College to move into its location. The Bookstore is to be cleared out by the end of March so the Barnes & Noble College may take its place on April 2, 2022.

Barnes & Noble College, not to be mistaken with the large retail store Barnes & Noble, is an established operator of college bookstores with more than 700 campus locations. George Micalone, director of the student union and activities, commented that third-party bookstores handling campus bookstores is becoming more common.

“The majority of the college spaces are third-party managed, so to have a self-op is less and less common these days,” Micalone said.

According to Micalone, this change in management will not affect the student experience too much. The Barnes & Noble College will be in the same location as the current Winona State Bookstore–in the Lower Hyphen of Kryzsko Commons–with the same hours and will still carry Winona State merchandise and offer textbooks.

According to Laura Mann, the interim WSU Bookstore director, profits from the Barnes & Noble College bookstore, like the current Winona State Bookstore, will go back to Winona State in the form of scholarships and campus improvements.

“Based on sales, Barnes & Noble College will be paying the university a commission that will be used to continue supporting the same university efforts,” Mann said.

The main change will be in the availability of textbooks and the speed in acquiring them.

“[The Barnes & Noble College] have competitive buying power… the ability to get textbooks on short notice because they actually own one of the textbooks companies,” Micalone said. “They have a lot easier ability to get stuff on short notice and really support students.”

Mann echoed Micalone’s statements about Barnes & Noble College’s ability to acquire textbooks.

“Barnes & Noble College will be able to offer a wider variety of textbook formats and pricing to Winona State University students on many titles,” Mann stated. “Their buying power allows them better access to the supply chain and their corporate investment in technology allows them to offer the purchase of new/used, the rental of new/used and also varying lengths of digital access to textbooks that the WSU Bookstore was not able to provide.”

Micalone also mentioned the shopping experience and technology for the Barnes & Noble College will be “super slick” and user friendly.

Currently, clothing and office supplies are 20 percent off, art supplies are 50 percent off and clearance items are an additional 50 percent off at the Bookstore. As the Bookstore gets closer to closing, discounts may increase but inventory will also become more limited.

The Winona State University Bookstore is having extreme discount sales to clear out inventory in preparation for Barnes & Noble College to move into its location. As the Bookstore gets closer to closing, discounts may increase but inventory will also become more limited.
The Winona State University Bookstore is having extreme discount sales to clear out inventory in preparation for Barnes & Noble College to move into its location. As the Bookstore gets closer to closing, discounts may increase but inventory will also become more limited. (Mohammed Islam)

“As you can predict, the closer it gets to the transition, the better the discount is but the weaker the inventory is,” Micalone stated. “If you’re interested in checking out the discounts, check them out now if you want better inventory, hang out longer if you want better discounts with less selection.”

Third-year student Ahlea Wright commented her thoughts on this change.

“Honestly I couldn’t care less if it was a Barnes & Noble or the private university bookstore, but I just know I am a huge fan of Barnes & Noble, I’m a member and everything, so if I am able to use my 10 percent off discount at the new bookstore that would make my day,” Wright said.

Micalone also explained why it is important for the Barnes & Noble College to move in this semester instead of the fall.

“There’s a lot of prep for the fall to get ready for textbook distribution, pick-ups, faculty adoption to textbooks and they want the new team to handle all that,” Micalone said.

Barnes & Noble College also offers training and job opportunities; Micalone noted these opportunities are offered to students through a management training program.

“If you’re a student working at the bookstore and you like that field, they can flag you and get you into a training program to consider full-time employment after college,” Micalone said.

Micalone expressed his support of the change as the university prepares for Barnes & Noble College to take over the bookstore at Winona State.

“Overall I think it’s a good thing for the university and I think that the existing team and the way it was managed before worked for a long time, but as things evolve and college campuses are different, industries are changing, supply chain has become more difficult, I think having a third-party partner would be a great thing for the university and I look forward to a strong working relationship with them,” Micalone said.