New campus bookstore met with mixed emotions

Maddy Kinard, Assistant News Editor

For the first time since 2007, Wilkes University has its bookstore back on campus. 

As the university’s current bookstore contract came to an end in August 2021, administration chose to build a space of its own for books on campus, rather than continue the contract with Barnes and Noble. 

Now located on the lounge on the first floor of the Student Union Building, the new bookstore is more than just a way to purchase textbooks. It houses Wilkes gear, as the Barnes and Nobles location did, along with school materials and plenty of snacks. 

The bookstore is operating as a hybrid model, granting students the ability to order textbooks online as in the past. A kiosk will also be part of the new store but due to supply chain issues, has not been added yet. It will be added as soon as possible. 


“The course and book will determine which versions will be offered; i.e. new, used, rented or digital,” said Alicia Bond, director of business operations. “The store plans to continue offering different price points to allow students to select the format they prefer. If a student needs assistance, they can always stop in the store and manager Joe Stager is happy to assist.”

Justin Kraynack, associate vice president of operations and compliance has found that making this switch to an on-campus location will also provide an economic benefit for not only the university but for students as well. 

“Things like rent, utilities and maintenance expenses are considerably lower on campus,” Kraynack said. “Though it’s too early into our agreement to quantify all the benefits of this operation, we are confident that our new campus store will realize not only an economic benefit to the campus, but increase convenience and accessibility to products and supplies needed for classroom and campus life.”

However, while the change in location may allow for easier accessibility for some students, frustrations have been expressed by those who preferred the appeal of the Barnes and Nobles location and feel the loss of the lounge space as the bookstore has taken over.  

“I mean I have yet to go into it, but I’m kinda sad and angry that they took the space away from students,” says senior earth and environmental science major Erika Wintersteen. “I liked spending time in the lounge area; it was usually quiet during the day. I also spent a lot of time there freshman year, too. Also, how can it be a bookstore if there are no books present in it? It’s a gift shop.”

On whether or not students opted for purchasing their books from the bookstore or looked elsewhere to buy them, the latter was more appealing for senior English major Nicole McNelis. 

“I only purchased some of my books from the bookstore. Most of my books this semester came from Amazon,” said McNelis. “It is faster, more efficient, and usually cheaper that way. Right now, the bookstore is in a weird transition period, and I understand that, but it is currently pretty difficult to receive information (let alone books) from the bookstore. Personally, I think their current methods of operations are super inefficient.”

All of these grievances are being taken into consideration by the university as members are still working to cater to students and professor’s needs as they arise. 

“Collaboration between the bookstore and faculty is critical to not only the success of the campus store, but most importantly to supporting the success of our students,” said Kraynack. “A number of transitional problems made it difficult to fulfill some course book adoptions along with shipping and supply chain challenges. Our new campus store management team is committed to correcting these problems and to establish an active faculty outreach campaign to solicit their feedback.”