Bookstore contract in demand between competitors



The Gannon bookstore is facing potential changes this fall as the vendor contract is up for renewal. Currently, four different vendors are competing for it.

Jillian Wells, Staff Writers

The Gannon Bookstore’s contract is up and the race for a vendor is underway involving four companies, one of which will be chosen to provide textbooks and related items to the university starting in the fall semester.

The four companies in the running are Follett, which is Gannon’s current vendor, Barnes & Noble, Slingshot and Akademos.

These four companies responded to the university’s Request for Proposals (RFP).

Each vendor is going through an interview process, but one has yet to be chosen.

According to Walter Iwanenko, Ph.D., provost and vice president for Student Experience, the current contract is ending, and it was best to send out a bid for a new contract to maintain the best possible prices and products for Gannon students.

“It is best practice to send expiring contracts out to bid to ensure best pricing available in order to keep students’ costs at a minimum,” said Iwanenko.

The goal for the Student Development and Engagement portion of the Student Experience Division of the Provost office is to keep textbook prices low to allow students the ability to afford any necessary course material.

“Technology and the business of textbooks is changing, and we want to make sure we can offer the best experience possible,” said Iwanenko.

Other routes may be taken in the future to ensure that each student at Gannon has an equal chance of success.

One option for the future would be open-source materials, which would allow students to not have to pay for their textbooks.

The faculty could be trained in how to include the open sources on Blackboard for students to access, instead of paying for the textbooks.

Another proposed solution would be to include the textbook pricing in tuition so that students’ books are ready for them when they arrive for their first class at the beginning of each semester.

Having books ready for students would take away the pressure of having to order and find a way to pay for the books.

The alternate routes that have been discussed have not been approved, but they are a part of what is being talked about with the new contract being chosen right around the corner.

“The goal is to keep the costs of textbooks as low as possible while ensuring every student has course materials at the start of class,” said Iwanenko.

“These decisions have not been made, but they are strong considerations when awarding the next bookstore contract.”

Follett, the present vendor, has been Gannon’s vendor for 10 years, starting in April 2012.

Follett remains in the running to maintain the contract with Gannon but faces competition from the other three vendors.

Barnes & Noble, the second vendor being considered, has contracts with other colleges and universities across the country.

Slingshot, the third vendor, was the first to come up with an Equitable Access program, which allows students to get something similar to a subscription box, with all of their required course materials.

Lastly, Akademos is a company that has focus on accessibility and convenience for students using its textbooks.

These vendors that are being considered will continue to go through their interview processes.



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