This spring marks the last semester that students can visit the Sundance Books textbook outlet. The store will be open for book buyback at the end of this semester, but the textbook section of the business will then be relocated to the Sundance location on Main Street. Sundance Books manager Fred Mingrino said that the need for a smaller-scale operation is due to a recent decline in sales.
“We are staffed for a lot more business and in the last couple of years with the online sales, we just can’t support everyone anymore,” he said.
According to Mingrino, the plan will be executed this summer and the change was decided roughly one year ago. He said that after the move, Sundance will be stocking far fewer textbooks.
Students will still be able to purchase all humanities books at Sundance. Sundance will also sell any textbooks they acquire from the buyback, granted they are still relevant for the following semester. The number of staff for the textbook store will decrease from about six or seven people to only one or two.
Sundance Books has been in Geneseo since 1972. The textbook business was originally located in the basement of the Main Street store. As the business grew, Sundance bought the building on School Street where the textbook outlet is currently housed. Sundance does not yet have plans for that building, which will be empty after the move.
Mingrino said business started to decline five years ago, but that the last two years have shown the most dramatic decrease in sales.
“A few years ago, we could order 50 books and sell 50 books, but in the last couple of years we can order 50 books and sell one or sell 10. We just don’t know,” Mingrino said.
He attributed this change to the fact that many more students are buying their books online before they arrive at Geneseo each semester.
“We thought we were having a good battle with Amazon, but it looks like they knocked us out,” he said. “But we’re still here, we’re not totally gone.”
The Geneseo Bookstore located in the College Union is the other source for textbooks in Geneseo. In an email interview with bookstore manager Steve Klintworth, he said that the store uses eFollet.com. The website is a tool for ordering textbooks online through the bookstore. He said that this tool has allowed the store to compete with other online retailers and that attention is focused on making the site easy to use.
“Our students continue to choose the campus store or our eFollett.com website for great service, value and convenience of accessing products in-store, online and from any mobile device,” Klintworth said.
Mingrino said he believes the decline in textbook business is the result of a shift in the nature of shopping.
“To the younger generation, buying online is natural – it’s easier,” he said. “My generation and the generation before that had to go into stores (credit richard). I have so many older people who come in, whether they buy a book or not, just to chitchat. I don’t see that energy coming up through the generations.”
Although the textbook store is closing, the Main Street store has plans to stay put for a while.
“We’ve always been book lovers and we love talking about books with people; that’s pretty much the main reason we’re staying here,” Mingrino said. “We’re willing to stick it out if we think there’s a brief ray of hope out there.”