Queens College’s 20-year contract with Follett, the current bookstore provider, ended in December.
Beginning in 1997, Follett was able to sell books and supplies until 2006. But the contract was extended for another 10 years.
This left other companies to control the familiar spot in the Student Union. Akademos won out of all the bids for the bookstore, but there’s a catch—it will all go online.
“There was no option to simply extend the contract with Follett,” Adam Rockman, vice president for Student Affairs, said. “Transition planning has been going on for several months, and we are looking forward to providing our students with the best and least-expensive options for buying their textbooks and course materials.”
The process for a new vendor involved students, faculty and administrators. After reviewing the different proposals, they decided Akademos. This makes QC the fourth CUNY college to have an online-only bookstore with the others being John Jay College, Medgar Evans College and the CUNY School of Law.
However, because of the change, employees at the bookstore will lose their jobs. The bookstore usually employs QC students or alums.
Joey Hernandez, 35, is assistant manager at the bookstore and worked there for 17 years. He is one person losing his job because of the change.
“I’m in charge of the course materials [and] now I won’t have a job,” Hernandez said. “Personally, I would have asked the students what they think about a digital bookstore before closing.”
Maria Cruz, 20 and a sales associate, said the bookstore did not just sell books. It sold items for to benefit students that they would need to get somewhere else.
“We sell a lot of Metrocards, and students pay with debit or credit cards,” Cruz said. “Now, students are pushed to go to the school’s ATMs to get cash out for Metrocards at the gas station.”
Cecila Ramos, 24 and a Team Leader at Follett, felt QC needs to focus more on students’ essentials.
“They need to know some students have vision problems and need actual textbooks, and I don’t think they thought of that when they changed the bookstore digitally,” Ramos said.
Joseph Tse, 24 and a QC alum, believed physical textbooks would help students more than any digital copy.
“Physical copies of books are better because it helps students study,” Tse said. “Buying the books at the store and reselling them back gives us a few dollars back in our pockets too.”
The plan is to convert the bookstore into another One Stop. The store does not sell rentals to students, and apparel is 50 percent off. In addition, no more shipments will come to the store.
Akademos will take over starting April 1. For now, students can access the new vendor at www.qcbookstore.com. In addition, students can sign into their CUNYFirst account. There, they can find the textbooks needed for classes and can order books online.