August 23, 2013/For Immediate Release

Media Contact: Lauren Whitaker, 336-734-2891, whitakerl@uncsa.edu



(Winston-Salem) College students at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) encountered one big change when they arrived on campus recently: no books in the book store.  Like many colleges and universities across the country, UNCSA has gone virtual with its distribution of textbooks.

Carol Cooper, director of Auxiliary Services, which includes management of the Campus Store, said the decision was mainly a financial one. “College book stores do not make money on books,” she said. “We have never expected to make a profit from our students.  Our goal is to make textbooks as affordable as possible while running an efficient operation.”

Nationally, campus book stores are expanding their retail product lines so they can afford to sell text books. “Because we are so small, we can’t purchase quantities large enough to sell at a reasonable price and turn over the inventory fast enough to show a profit,” Cooper said, adding that any profit made in the campus store – whether on books, logo apparel or sundries -- would go toward scholarships.

UNCSA has an undergraduate enrollment of about 900 students in specialized courses, and approximately 80% of the courses are offered in the arts disciplines (dance, design and production, drama, filmmaking and music) and do not use textbooks.

Even in the Division of Liberal Arts, which offers core curriculum required for bachelor’s degrees, the numbers don’t add up to savings for students or profits for the store. The average class size for academic courses is 15, and few courses have more than two sections offered.

UNCSA has contracted with a national text book supplier to offer online textbook sales and rentals. It will take about a week for students to get their books, but they can select new or used, purchase or rental. At the end of the term, students who purchased their books are guaranteed a buy back from the vendor.

“It gives them some options, and they are not required to use our vendor. They are free to purchase or rent the required texts anywhere they choose,” Cooper said.

The textbook vendor has a division that will offer UNCSA logo merchandise in greater variety than the store has been able to offer.

So without books and t-shirts, what will happen to the Campus Store, which occupies a prominent place on the ground floor of Hanes Student Commons? For this year, Cooper said, the store will be open during limited, high-demand hours, offering school supplies, snacks and sundries. When the school’s contract with its food vendor expires at the end of this year, the new contract could include the management of a convenience store in addition to the dining hall and snack bar.

Cooper said students were notified of the change via email, and a power point presentation runs continuously in the storefront.  A representative of the textbook supplier is on campus during orientation to assist students.

The change will benefit students and improve efficiency of campus operations, Cooper said. “Like our students and their families, we have to make every dollar count. This is most economical way we have found to provide what our students need,” she said.

As America’s first state-supported arts school, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts is a unique stand-alone public university of arts conservatories. With a high school component, UNCSA is a degree-granting institution that trains young people of talent in music, dance, drama, filmmaking, and design and production. Established by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, the School of the Arts opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972. For more information, visit www.uncsa.edu.