Photo taken prior to COVID-19 pandemic. Ewan Nicholson

April 14, 2021

Bookstore update from Linda Dalgetty, vice-president, finance and services

Message to the campus community

I want to thank the members of our university community for your feedback in response to the potential change in the operational model of the University Bookstore. In response to the questions and concerns you’ve raised, I want to share some of elements that are driving the need for change. Additionally, I’d like to clarify some of the misinformation that has been communicated about the bookstore.

The University Bookstore receives no funding from the provincial government, student tuition or student fees. While it’s not private, the bookstore operates in the same manner as a private business. It must earn sufficient revenue to cover all operating and capital expenditures including the full costs of occupancy, including utilities, maintenance, caretaking and waste disposal, in respect of the space it occupies in Mac Hall. 

Over the last five years, sales revenue from the bookstore has decreased by approximately eight per cent, per year. The decreased revenue is not sufficient to fund the operational and capital expenditures required to maintain the current operational model of the bookstore. This is not unique to the University of Calgary. Students now have many choices to obtain textbooks. They are choosing to exercise that choice by buying textbooks online, or finding options to borrow, rent or download textbooks.

We are currently investigating alternate ways to provide bookstore services on campus to ensure that these services can be provided in a sustainable manner. We will not be closing the main campus bookstore or the medical bookstore located at our Foothills Campus.

We are not planning to sell the university bookstore. We are considering an operational model that uses an outside company to manage the bookstore operations, under the oversight of the university. I can assure you, that should we choose a third-party operational model, the retail markup of textbooks will be the same as the current markup. This would be a binding provision embedded in the legal contract.

The impact on our current staff members will be carefully considered in the operational review. We currently employ 13 staff members at the bookstore. In addition, there are several limited, part-time positions at the start of fall and winter semester to meet increased demand.

Community feedback is very important. As part of our broader consultation process, we will be launching a survey on April 19, 2021 to better understand what the community values most in their bookstore experiences. I encourage you to complete the survey. 

Thank you for your feedback. I look forward receiving additional community input through the survey process.

Linda Dalgetty
Vice-President, Finance and Services