more on the university bookstore business

Further to the day before yesterday’s post: Action directe of a gentler, more bookish nature: aux armes, citoyens! Message with link to petition follows:

Dear colleagues – I have sent this around to various lists. Apologies for cross postings.

You likely all received the email about UBC changing the name of the bookstore to UBC Central.

UBC claims that the name UBC Bookstore does not adequately reflect the products and services that the store provides and that the word ‘bookstore” is limiting and restraining to their business and to the changes that they are proposing which will make more “effective” use of the space.  They also claim that the name “bookstore” is confusing to customers and visitors to campus which is absolutely ridiculous.  While they say that they are still committed to selling books, their decision to rename the store is part of a UBC “rebranding” initiative that will see the space sell “fewer traditional books” and focus more on other services such as UBCcard, IT help desk and a “technology recharging system.”  It seems to me that they are rebranding the store at the expense of selling books and, despite their claims, this will no longer be a bookstore.  Their website describes it as a ‘one stop shop’ that will also sell text books and course materials.  Not a bookstore.

This is deeply upsetting to me.  Not simply because of the suggestion that a bookstore on a university campus is not a sustainable or effective use of space, or that the word “bookstore” is somehow off-putting and confusing, but also because bookstores are disappearing everywhere.  UBC Bookstore is an independent bookstore (as much as it can be with the lovely “brand”) and is one of the few brick and mortar stores left in Vancouver.  By changing the name to UBC Central, UBC is effectively eliminating the presence of our campus bookstore and is contributing to the demise of bookstore culture in Vancouver in general.

I have written a long letter to everyone I can think of to express my concern and anger over this change.  I have since had a response from [name removed], Managing Director, UBC Community Services.  She wants to meet with me in person on Tuesday to discuss this further.

I encourage you to also give feedback if this change makes you angry. And please sign the petition below.  I need as much support as possible for the meeting on Tuesday.

I feel very strongly that UBC needs a campus bookstore.  One that is committed to selling books.  The bookstore is an integral part of our academic community, not because it makes money but because it sells books.  Changing the name is a mistake and is a decision that deeply offends me.  I strongly believe that UBC should be committed to maintaining bookstore culture and upholding the tradition of having a bookstore as a fundamental part of campus life.

The petition can be found online at:

If you didn’t get the broadcast email, the bookstore’s FAQ page that explains the change is here:

You can send comments to

[I’ve also removed the OP’s email address, for spam-avoidance purposes.]

Please circulate this as widely as possible.  Thanks.

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