Follett replaces Barnes and Noble

By: Samantha Bartholomew
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After a year long bidding debate, Follett Higher Education is set to replace Barnes and Noble as the district’s new bookstore operator. The bookstore is set to close soon but will reopen sometime in May. Mia Magana| Viewpoints

After a year-long bidding debate, Follett Higher Education is set to replace Barnes and Noble as the district’s bookstore operator.

Barnes and Noble and Follett Higher Education each placed bids and pitched their reasons to the Riverside Community College District for being the best suited to run the campus bookstore.

The committee ultimately chose Follett Higher Education as the vendor that would offer the best programs and opportunities for students to save on the overall costs of course materials.

According the the bid, cost-saving options offered to students include a more robust textbook rental program, which could be up to 80 percent savings compared to buying new books, and a varied selection of e-books and other digital learning technologies that help promote better accessibility to students for needed materials.

Follett Higher Education said that they will also offer affordable open educational resources content and courseware including industry leader products by Lumen Learning.

The committee stated that Follett Higher Education’s proven record of faculty partnerships, affordability focus and  innovations set them apart in the evaluation, citing the fact that Follett saved California college students over $33 million in course materials in 2017.

Talk of switching book operators arose during a District Budget Advisory Council Meeting in April 2017 when Majd Askar, director of business services, brought up that the majority of the colleges in the state use Follett.

Beyond course materials, Follett said they will refresh all three stores within the district with new merchandise offerings making it a one-stop shop for class and campus life essentials.

During the transition the campus bookstores will be closed April 30 to May 3. The closure will result in a service gap for the purchase of some materials like scantrons and Blue books for that week. Testing supplies will be available at no charge at central locations on campus.

The existing provider, Barnes and Noble, will be working closely to minimize the impact on students and staff.