UMass Amherst Replacing Campus Bookstore with Amazon

UMass Amherst Replacing Campus Bookstore with Amazon

Students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus will no longer be buying their textbooks at the campus bookstore. That familiar on-campus amenity is being replaced by online retail giant Amazon.com. The current textbook annex operated by Follett Corp. is being replaced by an Amazon distribution center that is designed to save the students money.

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According to UMass spokesman Ed Blaguszewski, University officials recognized that as the cost of textbooks and course materials are increasing every year for students and represent one of the major expenses of attending classes on campus, the new deal using book services provided by Amazon will not only offer students what they need at lower prices but also provide a more convenient shopping experience.Compared with the prices being charged currently at the UMass Amherst campus bookstore, the new Amazon pricing structure will enable students to save as much as 31% annually, translating to an average cost savings of $380 per student. The new system gives students the option of purchasing either digital copies of the textbooks and course materials they need, or the option of taking delivery of traditional physical ink and paper books to either on-campus or nearby addresses using free one-day delivery. Students also have the option of ordering their textbooks online and then picking them up in person at a location in the campus center staffed by Amazon personnel.

UMass Amherst’s five-year deal with the retailing giant will provide the school with a 2.5% commission on almost all student sales conducted through the Amazon storefront linked to the University’s course-selection software. The University is guaranteed payments of at least $375,000 the first year, increasing to $465,000 and $610,000 for the next two years. Amazon already has similar textbook service agreements with the University of California Davis as well as Purdue University.

An Amazon spokesman says that this effort to reinvent the traditional campus bookstore is a win-win for everyone, with students lowering their cost of obtaining textbooks and other course materials, while the school realizes a guaranteed revenue from student sales.

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