Closure of campus bookstore confirmed

The University called the shop’s closure a ‘matter of regret’

Image: Philippa Grafton

Market Square. Image: Philippa Grafton

It has been confirmed that the Blackwell’s bookstore in Market Square has closed.

Last Tuesday, Commercial Services told Nouse that they were informed of the company’s decision to terminate the lease of the unit during the weeks before Christmas. Blackwell’s handed back the keys to Commercial Services on Tuesday 13 January.

The double unit on the second floor of Market Square has been on the Heslington West campus since the late 1960s, beginning trade as Godfrey’s University Bookshop.

The Oxford-based bookstore had been trading in the unit on Market Square since 2001. It sold a range of academic texts, with departmental reading lists quoting the bookstore as a place to buy course texts.

image: harry_nl

The company was founded in Oxford. Image: harry_nl

Many students at the University feel there was a lack of communication about the sudden closure of the store. A third-year English student told Nouse: “I wasn’t even aware that the store had closed. We have received no communication from the University about it.”

Sam Hickford, another third-year English student, expressed his upset and disappointment at the abrupt closure of the store.

He said: “I am extremely dissapointed in the closure, as without a bookshop, Market Square is simply a blackhole of overpriced shops with no character.”

Jon Greenwood, Director of Commercial Services, said of the closure: “It was a commercial decision on their part, disappointing but probably a sign of the times with the increased sales on line through the likes of Amazon etc. It’s nothing the University can influence, we can’t expect commercial companies to trade at a loss.”

A University official told Nouse: “We have had a long and mutually supportive relationship with Blackwell’s. While we understand that this is a commercial decision on the company’s part, it is a matter of regret that the branch on campus has closed.”


  1. 20 Jan ’15 at 10:39 am

    Callum McCulloch

    Why is the picture of Blackwells in Oxford?


    • No other picture could be found (nobody ever took a picture of the Blackwell’s on campus when it was there, since nobody, sadly, knew that it existed.) We could have taken a picture of the now-vacant empty building on Market Square, but that probably wouldn’t be as good.