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New book vendor eCampus brings change to campus and student pockets

(Emily Burian) Online booksellers are beating out the bookstore in sales.
(Emily Burian)
Online booksellers are beating out the bookstore in sales.

Mills College has officially announced a new partnership with the online book vendor eCampus to replace Follett and the physical bookstore beginning in early May, in time for summer session 2016.

For the past three years, Director of Auxiliary Services Dorothy Calimeris has been searching for alternatives to the school’s book selling system as book sales continued to decline. In mid February, a committee including Calimeris, Dean of Students Chicora Martin, Assistant Vice President for Operations Linda Zitzner, and several other Mills staff and administrators, was formed to select a new vendor from a shortlist of three companies: Akademos, eCampus and eFollett.

On April 5 the committee officially announced their selection of eCampus as the new campus book vendor, as well as the closure of the Follett bookstore on May 19.

The new vendor, Calimeris said, stood apart from the others in its strong relationships with publishers as well as being well equipped to help Mills most efficiently through the transition from a physical to online store.

“We are in a campus with a lot of transition, and eCampus presented themselves as being very professional and competent,” Calimeris said.

eCampus also offers new perks for students to make textbooks more affordable. Beginning in summer session, students will be able to use their financial aid for textbook purchases, as well enroll in a new rewards program allowing Mills students to earn points redeemable toward books by shopping online at partner companies such as Amazon, Target, Walmart and Groupon.

An electronic kiosk, provided for free by eCampus, will also be installed on campus, providing a physical location for students to order books through in addition to their online services.

This online store will also be the new home for much of the Mills spirit merchandise. Though some Mills logo items will still be available for purchase on campus through a convenience store, whose location is yet to be determined, most Mills merchandise will be transitioned to the online store.

The fate of the space that currently houses the campus bookstore is still uncertain, but administrators are currently considering turning the building into office space, multi-use space, or additional mail storage.

The Campanil will continue to provide bookstore updates online as new information becomes available.