Morgan State bookstore management falls under Barnes and Noble

The MSU Spokesman

Seven weeks after it was set to open, Barnes and Noble will officially outsource and manage the Morgan State University bookstore on Nov. 20. New management was delayed due to the university not being ready.

“Barnes and Noble will take over the bookstore in mid-November. This may shift to January in the spring semester, we are not sure. October 1st was the original deadline, but it was pushed back because we are not ready,” said Sidney Evans, the vice president for finance and management.

Currently, MSU owns and operates the university bookstore on campus, but Morgan has entered into an agreement that will allow Barnes and Noble Inc. to manage the bookstore operation for the university.

After Evans arrived at MSU to assume his position, he began completing an in depth financial analysis and review of units for the university bookstore. “It was from that review that led to the decision to have a third party operate the bookstore,” said Evans.

The culmination of the three year led MSU to take the necessary steps toward new management in a two-component process. Part one of the process began with a financial analysis and operational review of units, the decision to let a third party operate the bookstore in its current location for an improvement in services and lastly undergoing the procurement process.

When MSU plans to obtain something, the Department of Construction and Commodities Management must procure goods and services and adhere to the policies for that particular purchase.

“We went through a process to see who was interested. Two of the three major bookstores in the United States responded to our request for proposal and Barnes and Nobles Inc. won the bid,” said Evans. “71 percent of all universities outsource their bookstores. So basically, Morgan was behind the times.”

“I think there will be an improvement in services provided here for the Morgan community. There will be a stronger online presence and faculty inclusion. Barnes and Noble Inc. manages so many bookstores and they have more leverage to get things done, whereas independent stores have to work much harder and at a slower pace,” said Ron Stevenson, director of the MSU bookstore.

“Barnes and Noble has an employee transition program. Current MSU bookstore employees will have the option to work for Barnes and Noble,” said Evans.

“The new management agreement between the University and Barnes and Noble allows for Barnes and Noble basically offering positions to all person’s within the university bookstore with their current rate of pay and same years of service,” said Stevenson.

All current MSU bookstore employees will automatically be granted with the same number of years under a Barnes and Noble employee contract that they previously worked under the MSU Bookstore.

“I think this will be positive step for the university as we move forward,” said Stevenson.

Barnes and Noble is set to move from the MSU University Student Center into the Northwood Plaza, a shopping center at Loch Raven Blvd and Havenwood Rd. This constitutes as the second component of the new management process.

“Subject to an agreement with the owners of Northwood, all the appropriate approvals, and the completion of the New Northwood shopping center, then the bookstore will move to Northwood,” said Evans. “Once it moves to Northwood, it will become a co-branded store.”

The co-branded operation in Northwood will allow both students and the general public to have access to the book sore with the marquee reading, “Barnes and Noble Inc. and Morgan State University,” according to Evans.

There is no set date for the move of the bookstore from the MSU Student Center into the Northwood Plaza shopping center.