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Textbook Rental Coming to UAlbany in Fall 2010 Under New Bookstore Operating Contract
Jamie Toeg, a junior biology major from Fond du Lac, Wis., peruses the offerings in the University Bookstore. (Photo Mark Schmidt)
ALBANY, N.Y. (April 15, 2010) -- University Auxiliary Services at Albany, Inc. (UAS) has signed a new five-year contract with Barnes & Noble College Booksellers to continue operating the University at Albany Campus Bookstore.
The new contract capped a five-month long open and competitive procurement cycle that began last November, when requests for proposals were issued to five qualified bidders, including local independent operators and national corporations. The proposals were reviewed and rated as part of a comprehensive, competitive process by a committee that included University students, faculty, administrators and UAS Board members. UAS is a not-for-profit corporation that provides services for the UAlbany community.
"Barnes & Noble has operated the UAlbany Bookstore since 1981, so they've been an important corporate partner over the years," UAS Executive Director J. Eric Smith stated. "But all partnerships must be regularly reviewed within current market conditions, and by going through a comprehensive, competitive procurement process for this contract, we have done just that. Barnes & Noble clearly demonstrated to an impartial committee that they offered UAS the most efficient and effective Bookstore partnership as we work over the next five years to embrace best practices in today's rapidly-evolving University marketplace."
Among the new contract's terms are the initiation of a textbook rental program beginning in the fall of 2010, and a contract evaluation structure that places the highest operational priorities on textbook pricing and availability to UAlbany students and faculty. The textbook rental program will enable students to pay 50 percent or less of the cost of a new printed textbook and will allow for the use of selected titles for a full semester. While not all titles will be available for rental, UAS has provided contract incentives to encourage Barnes & Noble to implement this new program as widely as possible at UAlbany.
The new Bookstore contract also significantly increases the annual amount of funding allocated to student scholarships as part of UAS's commitment to helping defray educational expenses for current and prospective students. "As students and their families face increasing financial pressures, the Bookstore Review Committee considered it essential to give back to our students wherever we could," said UAS Board President Laurie Garafola. "Under our new Bookstore contract, the textbook rental and scholarship programs will put money back into students' pockets, while other contract provisions will allow UAS to hold Barnes & Noble to the highest possible standards of quality and customer service."
Within Barnes & Noble, UAlbany’s Bookstore account has been reassigned a different region to allow fresh insights and perspectives to invigorate this important University partnership. Under the new management structure, UAlbany will be more closely aligned organizationally with comparable large, State Universities, including Stony Brook, Ohio State, Maryland, West Virginia and Georgia Tech. This alignment will provide valuable operating perspective as the University at Albany embarks upon a major Campus Center renovation over the next five years, to include significantly upgrading the current Bookstore space.
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