Emerson bookstore under new management in fall

by Beacon Staff • March 29, 2006

The store, which now occupies a small first-floor space in the Little Building (LB), will be changing hands from eFollet to Barnes Noble Booksellers, Inc.,The pieces are beginning to fall into place for Emerson College as it solidifies its place in the Theatre District. Next year, as the Piano Row building opens its doors to students, the college will unveil a new bookstore.

The store, which now occupies a small first-floor space in the Little Building (LB), will be changing hands from eFollet to Barnes Noble Booksellers, Inc. and will be relocating to a larger storefront at 114 Boylston St.

The relocation of the bookstore leaves a vacancy in the LB that will be filled by the Television, Radio and Film (TRF) Equipment Distribution Center (EDC), which will move from the first floor of the Ansin Building.

When Emerson's contract ended with eFollet, the company currently managing the store, officials decided they wanted to expand bookstore offerings.

"[It was decided that] it would be advantageous to enhance and enlarge the campus bookstore for the benefit of students and faculty," David Rosen, vice president for Public Affairs, wrote in an e-mail interview.

The new location, which was occupied by Repertoire Furniture, will offer greater amounts of space for merchandise, including faculty-written books, Rosen said, adding that this more prominent position will allow for more public access.

"It will be a good use of space for the college and an asset to the neighborhood," Rosen said.

The store will be temporarily located in the basement of the Colonial Building until fall, when renovations on the new space will be complete. Rosen said Emerson has signed a 10-year contract with Barnes Noble, which will begin in May, and hopes to benefit from longer store hours and online ordering.

Freshman writing, literature and publishing (WLP) major Lauren Bonadies said she is looking forward to having a Barnes Noble at the college.

"I've never had any problems finding books there," Bonadies said. She said she occasionally goes to the store in Downtown Crossing to pick up books she cannot find on campus.

Senior WLP major Joshua Jenkins said he would have liked to have Barnes Noble as his college bookstore. He said he hoped that this change in management will reduce the amount students spend on books.

Stan Frank, director of marketing administration at Barnes Noble, said that new books may be just as expensive, depending on what professors order for their classes, but that the company will try to make as many used books available as possible.

Frank also said that the company operates 475 campus stores nationwide, including 21 in Boston. Boston University (BU) is one of these schools.

BU sophomore Jessica Kozinn said she spends a lot of time in her campus bookstore.

"It feels like a regular Barnes Noble; you can get anything there," Kozinn said.

One of Kozinn's favorite aspects of the store is that students can order books online and have a box waiting for them when they arrive at the start of a semester.

She admits that this convenience can be a bit expensive, and she sometimes still orders her textbooks through other online sites.

While Emerson's bookstore will not be as large as the BU store, Frank said that the company intends to take advantage of as much space as possible to create a comfortable atmosphere.

The relocation of the EDC to the LB will also eliminate the need for students taking out equipment to contend with traffic at the intersection of Boylston and Tremont streets.

Sophomore film and organizational and political communication double major George Hrico, who works in the EDC, said he was looking forward to the greater amount of space that the new location will offer.

"It'll be weird not to be here [in the Ansin building], but the larger place will allow for more space and, as a result, more efficiency," Hrico said.

Hrico said that he believes that by moving to the LB, the EDC will be more convenient to many students.

"We are definitely going to be a more visual aspect of the college," Hrico said. "Right now, we are kind of hidden back here."

In December, The Beacon reported several students' concerns with the lack of space in the EDC's current home, as well as the desire of Lance Kyed, TRF production and operations manager, to move the facility to a larger space.

Timothy McKenna, the EDC manager, said that over the past nine years he has been at Emerson, the number of students needing equipment from the center has risen from 750 to 1,700.

Senior film major Chris Faiella said that he would have benefited from borrowing equipment from a larger facility.

"Waiting in line can be a hassle in a small space," Faiella said.

He said that the EDC is currently "so crammed and packed" that it can be chaotic when returning equipment, and, as a result, broken items are returned without anyone noticing.

While Emerson prepares for next year's changes, Rosen said that the college is moving in a positive direction.

"Everything is starting to come together to build a cohesive campus," he said.