KEARNEY – The University of Nebraska at Kearney is ending its partnership with Barnes & Noble and launching a new online bookstore this summer that will give students expanded access to affordable textbooks and course materials.
Starting with the fall 2022 term, all textbooks and course materials will be available online through a partnership with Akademos, a provider of online and hybrid bookstore services for colleges and universities. The company’s digital platform ensures students pay the lowest costs for these items, saving them time and money.
“As an institution focused on student support and success, we’re always looking for ways to improve affordability and access to higher education,” said Michael Christen, director of business services at UNK. “Akademos shares the same goals. We believe this partnership will meet our students’ needs today and well into the future.”
UNK began exploring options related to bookstore operations in spring 2021 and a request for proposals was issued in December. A committee with faculty, staff and student representation reviewed seven bids before selecting Akademos for the contract.
Barnes & Noble will continue providing textbooks through the Antelope Bookstore on campus until June 24, with the transition to Akademos occurring July 1. After that date, students will order textbooks and course materials through the online portal and have them shipped to either the Antelope Bookstore or their home address.
Although the Antelope Bookstore will no longer sell textbooks directly to students, it will remain open inside the Nebraskan Student Union and have on-campus management to assist students and faculty with their textbook needs and answer questions related to the new partnership with Akademos. UNK apparel, classroom supplies and other merchandise will be available there, as well.
Akademos offers a wide selection of textbooks in a variety of formats, including new, used, rentals and e-books. The website also features a marketplace where students can buy and sell books at discounted prices. This tool allows students to view prices from Akademos, Amazon, Chegg and other third-party vendors before making a purchase.
Other benefits of the online bookstore include:
- A personalized course page that automatically links to a student’s class schedule, allowing them to see the textbooks and course materials they’ll need that semester. Orders can be placed in less than 10 minutes.
- A price-match guarantee on all new books.
- Free economy shipping to campus, excluding marketplace purchases.
The online bookstore also supports faculty and administrators by streamlining the process to select and adopt course materials. The Akademos Adoption Portal allows faculty to:
- Search for and assign course materials by ISBN or book title in fewer than 10 minutes.
- View previously adopted textbooks that display in the portal for easy reselection.
- See real-time pricing and availability for books and other materials.
- Seamlessly transition to digital, e-learning and reduced-cost materials.
- View enhanced reporting and analytics.
- Have access to a dedicated Akademos client success manager as well as an on-campus, Antelope Bookstore resource.
The transition from Barnes & Noble to Akademos allows UNK to oversee general merchandise and apparel operations at the on-campus bookstore. By moving these decisions in-house, the Antelope Bookstore will be able to offer a greater selection of UNK apparel and other items at lower prices while better meeting the needs of campus and the community.
“We are always looking for ways to expand UNK’s brand identity and offer merchandise that improves sales and increases our presence in the marketplace,” said Todd Gottula, UNK’s senior director of communications and marketing. “By overseeing and designing apparel and other products in-house, we are opening the door for more opportunities to better meet the expectations of our students and customers.”