Staff Editorial: Your friendly neighborhood monopoly

We poor college students have had it up to here with Sundance Books. For at least 10 years, they have held a monopoly over our textbook purchases while tearing the last bills from our wallets and maxing out our credit cards. And despite our excessive investments in their business, we don't even collect a $200 refund for passing go.

It comes as no surprise that the college has taken initiatives to assuage the grievances of exasperated students. There is currently a committee looking to contract another store as Geneseo's primary vendor and for the spring 2008 semester, students will be able to retrieve information on required texts via the Internet.

These steps are undoubtedly necessary and have been a long time coming. Students have been calling for transparency and affordability for required textbooks and the college has finally answered.

But before we are too hasty in pointing fingers at Sundance and turning to another source, we must carefully consider our options and the repercussions of any decision we make.

Sundance Books began not as the monopoly that we think of today, but rather as an alternative to a dominant college bookstore. Sundance's history, described on the bookstore's Web site, seeks to preserve the founders' business ethics and mission as genuine, despite the fact that they may have become somewhat clouded by high prices.

Amazon and eBay sound like tempting substitutes to our bookstore, but they are not the cure, nor is turning to another vendor. Sundance provides an important local service to the Geneseo community, keeping students supplied for courses and preserving the well being of the town.

Furthermore, the textbook outlet has kept up with the information age while maintaining its authentic, personal feel. The small-town vendor provides up-to-date, accurate textbooks, offers friendly, down-to-earth service and is located near campus.

While it may seem that Sundance has taken undue advantage of their success, the steps that the college has taken in the last few months to enable students to better find alternatives should remedy this problem.

Hopefully, Sundance will heed the threats to business posed by students seeking cheaper venues and take this opportunity to validate to the community their earnest intentions to ensure customer satisfaction.