Biola Bookstore to partner with Follett Management Group

The Biola Bookstore will be managed by Follett Higher Education Group in the summer to improve efficiently.


Sophomore Alex Ortiz fills a book order for a student during his shift at the Biola Bookstore. Ashleigh Fox/THE CHIMES

Anne Marie Larson, Writer

Sophomore Alex Ortiz fills a book order for a student during his shift at the Biola Bookstore. | Ashleigh Fox/THE CHIMES

The Biola Bookstore will no longer be self-run, but will instead be managed by Follett Higher Education Group, a bookstore management company, effective July 2013, according to the president’s administrative council.


Follett Higher Education Group is the largest operator of college bookstores in North America and the industry’s largest wholesaler of used books to higher education. In fall 2012, Follett announced they had saved students $1 billion in three years through their rental, used, buyback and digital programs, according to their website. This is also the first time Follett has ever retained student employees during a management change, according to Don Sims, senior director of auxiliary services.

Prices are expected to stay at the current rate. However, Sims speculates prices could drop because Follett manages more than 900 stores and has a lot of buying power that the current bookstore does not.

A lot remains unknown but the details are being worked out, said Joe Peckham, a bookstore customer service representative. However, the change will be good for Biola, Peckham said. One of the details includes remodeling of the bookstore, Sims said.


Raven Worthy, a junior biology major who has worked in the bookstore since August 2011, said she thinks the change will be a positive one.

“I am excited the bookstore is moving forward, but change can be scary if you don’t know all the details,” she said.

Biola is making the change because of challenges faced by independent stores, Sims explained. Students do not need to come to the bookstore because they can buy school products online, he said.

“It’s a real challenge for small stores in our area to try to be competitive and cost-effective enough so we can still make money,” Sims said.          

Sims said that he hopes the change has a positive effect on students and that they benefit from a more efficient bookstore. Under the centralized management of Follett, computerized systems will be introduced.

“Everything is computerized — we don’t have all of that, as of now, so our stocks will hopefully be rotated a little bit better and if things run out hopefully there will be more here,” Sims said.


 Students hope the transition leads to a more efficiently run bookstore.

“The partnership is a good idea if they improve on things and have things in stock,” said Elizabeth Wallace, a junior nursing major.

The Board of Trustees would only allow Follett management if they kept Biola employees, according to Sims. Follett agreed and though they will operate the store, Biola employees will continue to work inside it.

“If you contract out and you lose control of employees, you no longer have the right to say what the character of those employees are, what their beliefs are, anything like that. So the board is concerned about contracting out things where there is a lot of interaction between students and staff,” Sims said.

The bookstore will continue to sell merchandise and books with the Biola logo. It will also keep their large selection of Bibles, Peckham said.

“We want a big Bible section,” he said, smiling. 

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