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GRCC’s new bookstore partner, Barnes & Noble, sheds light on changes

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Product display in GRCC's newly renovated bookstore housed in the Student Center. (Alena Visnovsky/The Collegiate)

By Kevin Lopez and Braeden Pelton

There have been some new changes to the bookstore on Grand Rapids Community College campus. With a large brand like Barnes and Noble moving in, people are bound to ask questions. 

The Collegiate caught up with Barnes & Noble Regional Manager Michael Milton and store manager Kim Oakes to find out what students can expect from the new management.

For starters, the bookstore is not becoming a Barnes & Noble shop. Barnes & Noble has two different companies, there’s Barnes & Noble Retail and Barnes & Noble Education.

Barnes & Noble Education (BNED) and by extension Barnes & Noble College, partner with schools to provide a more convenient supply purchasing experience. Although their retail giant counterpart shares their name, that is one of the only things connecting the two. BNED will not be buying the bookstore outright, but operating as a partner with GRCC.  The agreement for bookstore services is outlined in the five-year contract between GRCC and Barnes & Noble College Booksellers.

“We currently support 850+ stores throughout the country,” Oakes said.

As for what the changeover entails, the store will be providing a single service for students to purchase books, school supplies, merchandise, and more. They will be working with Fanatics, a site allowing them to store more school pride swag online rather than overflowing the store. Some improvements are in the works with what forms of textbooks will be available.

“I don’t wanna say too much now about it… but we do have best in class service with the different (textbook) options we offer students. Just for affordability,” Milton said.

They’re not stopping there. BNED is planning to implement a bookstore mobile app to alert students of any promotions the bookstore may be offering. They also plan to stock Apple products in the coming months.

On that note, the shop is preparing to start up promotions. They plan to have them during orientation or the end of the school year, along with other opportune points in the school year.

“We really want to focus on our student outcomes, we wanna focus on our faculty support,” Milton said. “The third piece will just be being able to be a strategic partner.”

The new website isn’t quite ready yet, so for additional information please visit the bookstore or call 616-234-3880. 

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