Bookstore Overhaul

Since opening on Aug. 1, 2008, Barnes & Noble (B&N) has been collaborating with RIT to give students accessible textbooks, spirit wear and more . However, near the end Spring 2022 , the university announced that it would be making a move from B&N to an online format for the Fall 2022 semester and beyond.

This announcement has left students with various questions. How will it change the textbook process? And once B&N officially closes in June 2022, how will its former space be used?

RIT has announced a new partnership with Akademos to take of the main concern: textbooks.

What is Akademos? 

Akademosdescribes itself as, "The leader in online and hybrid bookstore solutions for colleges and universities."Their textbook selling platform helps students find the cheapest option by offering various sellers with competitive pricing, similar to Amazon

Akademos provides free shipping for RIT students when a given course material does not have an electronic alternative and helps “unbundle” course codes from textbooks so that students can just buy the code rather than pay for both.

Milagros Concepcion, resident Controller at RIT, outlined her hopes for the new collaboration between the university and Akademos.

Some of the features [Akademos offers is] an electronic shelf … so the students can store their software codes or their electronic materials all in one place,” Concepcion explained.

Simply put, students can access course-related sites, such as Cengage and Pearson, all in one place, rather than having to access those materials separately.

“We want students to get the best costs for their materials."

RIT’s Partnership

How RIT came to partner with Akademos is simple: RIT’s contract to B&N was set to end on June 30, 2022.

On Dec. 1, 2020, Concepcion assumed the role of RIT’s Controller and was asked to head the search for a new partner to help organize RIT’s bookstore. Rather than just find a simple and similar replacement for B&N, she first wanted to figure out what the students and faculty actually wanted out of a bookstore.

“We want students to get the best costs for their materials,” Concepcion said.

Compiling responses from 3,000 students and 300 faculty in a span of 15 months, her two main discoveries were that people wanted cheaper prices and an online platform. Students have already branched out to electronic sites, with Concepcion's data showing that about 80 percent of student responders were already getting their materials from online providers like Amazon.

RIT spoke with a myriad of bidders about making its textbook process cheaper and easier before meeting with Akademos, who Concepcion believes meets both points.

“I’m very excited and hopeful that we can change in ways that can benefit our students,” Concepcion said.

Though the university is still uncertain of what it will do with the B&N space, Concepcion believes it will be used to house more university-specific offices, such as RIT’s finance department, opening up room on campus for more student-centered activities and services.