Williams College Seeks Indie Bookseller Input for College Store

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Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, is currently assessing its bookstore operation and envisioning changes to its structure, operation, and location. As part of those efforts, the college recently began distributing a Request for Information (RFI) to members of the surrounding community as well as the bookselling industry at large.

Through meetings with faculty members, the college’s administrators have come to the conclusion that the current bookstore does not best serve the college and its community, especially in regard to trade books. To that end, Williams is asking independent bookstores as well as corporate entities to offer their visions for a bookstore/campus store associated with the college and what it would involve.

“There’s a general feeling among faculty that there are a lot of great independent bookstores in the local area that are thriving,” said Matthew Sheehy, Williams College’s associate vice president for finance and administration. “An independent bookstore might be able to offer what we need, and the community might be more inclined to support it than if it were a corporate entity.”

The college is looking for input in terms of where the business should be located to best serve students, faculty, and the community; what the college’s role will be in the store; what its inventory should include; and general best practices for a sound business operation.

“We’re looking for someone to come in with a business model that serves the college and the local community and who is ready to run the operation,” said Sheehy. “We’d be willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen.”

For more information and to view the RFI, booksellers should contact Matthew Sheehy at (413) 597-4775 or via e-mail at matthew.sheehy@williams.edu. Within the next 24 months, Williams College intends to issue an RFP to establish a relationship with a bookstore operator and change its current bookstore operation in some fashion.