After 20 years of business, Your:Books is set to close at the end of spring term 2008 due to a decline in turnover and growing competition from online retailers.
Following a review of financial targets, it was found that the campus bookshop, despite a turnover last year of £54,000, would be unable to compete with online retailers like Amazon.com. “There’s a history of the turnover decreasing by £9,000 a year. If the turnover dropped further it wouldn’t cover its costs,” said Matt Burton, YUSU Services and Finance Officer.
“It’s the demise of our little empire. I’m very sad actually, I’ve spent almost seven happy years here and it’s the loss of a very valuable service,” commented Manager Jennie Winn on the closure. The announcement that Winn is to retire this Christmas was also a factor in the decision. Recruiting a new employee would have incurred further costs. “Perhaps it’s the way that things have coincided, that I was finishing and the downturn in trade,” said Winn. Overhead costs have already been reduced to £20,000, yet Burton maintains “it’s important to exercise financial responsibility, there’s no point running the bookshop if it’s taking money away from other student services and clubs.”
The University’s shift from core texts to electronic materials, and the release of reading lists before the start of the academic year, have both impacted upon business. “We have a lot of stock on the shelves because reading lists change every year. Yesterday we had 17 customers.
People just aren’t coming in,” said Winn. As Blackwells, its main campus competitor, is buying and selling second-hand stock at similar prices to Your:Books, trade is only likely to fall further. YUSU’s Small Ads marketplace is the shop’s probable replacement, though only 27 books have been advertised since November 4. No decision has been made on what to do with the Your:Books space after closure.