Rowan wooing book store

By Jessica Beym
jbeym@sjnewsco.com

Rowan University officials want their bookstore to move up the corporate ladder - or at least the escalator.

As the university and the borough plan Rowan Boulevard a project aimed at converting Glassboro into a modern college town they are hoping to include Barnes & Noble.

As projected, the corporation would take over the university bookstore, selling textbooks and Rowan apparel in addition to their regular retail merchandise. The bookstore would be open to the general public.

"We're in negotiations right now with Barnes & Noble to take over our bookstore," said university spokesman Joe Cardona. "Part of that is, they're able to strike a deal with Glassboro as well to have the store along Rowan Boulevard."

Current plans call for the bookstore to be located in downtown Glassboro, but the building would be leased by the borough to the university. The university would then sublease the facility to Barnes & Noble's collegiate division.

The new store would be similar to a regular Barnes & Noble, with a wide variety of books and a caf??, but it would also include a dedicated section for college books and Rowan gear, Cardona explained.

For the university, the venture would likely be a financial benefit, Cardona said.

"More and more universities are going in that direction because there's money to be made," Cardona said.

Rather than the university paying for all overhead costs to run a bookstore, the risk and reward would be reaped by Barnes & Noble. The university's Board of Trustees is hopeful that a deal could be struck, he added.

The Rowan spokesman said textbook prices should be comparable to what students are currently paying.

"They're in a competitive market, so it's not likely they can raise those prices too high," Cardona said.

In Philadelphia, similar bookstores are operating at Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania, which has had its store for about 10 years, according to manager Anthony Early.

"We have a huge selection of books and a cafe as well," Early said. "Most people come in to study and read."

Glassboro Administrator Joseph Brigandi Jr. said the borough is eager to negotiate the deal.

"The impact would be phenomenal to bring a bookstore with that caliber of a name a national chain, and one that is obviously very experienced in both college bookstores and their own," Brigandi said. "I think it'd be a benefit to both the college and the community."

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Date Published: Monday, September 17, 2007 - 01:00
Source URL: The Philadelphia Inquirer