Textbook vendor contract renegotiated

After 10 years of employing Sundance Books as the college's only official textbook outlet, Geneseo will open up the contract to competitive bidding this spring.

According to Mark Scott, executive director of Campus Auxiliary Services, Sundance has reached the end of its second five-year contract and will be allowed to make a bid along with any other textbook provider who shows interest.

Scott has formed a committee that will review the bids of companies interested in becoming the school's textbook provider.

"Our job is to provide the optimal level of services to our students and we feel that over the years our provider has lost sight of the growing needs of the customers," said Scott. He also said that while the school has not received a large number of student complaints, he has "definitely heard some in passing."

The committee's first meeting to be held on Nov. 24 is not open to the public, but Scott said the committee is open to dialogue with the Student Association to receive students' perspectives.

"I feel that students would like a bookstore that offers more competitive prices," said senior Dave Spinks. "I started buying books online a few years ago."

"I've never had a problem at Sundance," said sophomore Ryan Phelps. "But anything that would make books cheaper or serve the student body better is definitely a bonus."

According to Scott, the committee will meet twice before the end of the semester to, "shape the decision process to find a competitive bid for the college bookstore services."

With Scott as director, the committee will consist of members of the administration and faculty as well as three students: freshman Dayshawn Simmons, senior Katelyn Conway, Inter-Residence Council chair and senior Danielle Forrest, SA president.

Forrest said after reviewing the bids, the committee will meet with representatives of the companies and visit their stores to see if they fit Geneseo's needs. Forrest also encouraged student involvement in the process.

"If anyone has any feedback or things that they would like to see in a bookstore they can e-mail me," she said.

Sundance Books Textbook Outlet manager Jim Matson was surprised to hear of the school's decision to form the committee.

"I feel as if we do a pretty good job providing to the students," said Matson. "Of course with some cases it is easier for students to order books online or buy them from another student, but for the most part I believe we're just as competitive as the big chain bookstores."

Scott said that even though Sundance may not end up being the school's exclusive textbook provider, they would still be free to sell to the student body. He also added that the school will likely offer the chosen vendor a three-year contract with possible extensions rather than a five-year contract.