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Vanderbilt, Barnes & Noble to bring bookstore back to West End

by | Jun. 30, 2011, 7:56 AM



The old Borders bookstore on West End Avenue, soon to be converted into a Vanderbilt bookstore run by Barnes & Noble (Steve Green/Vanderbilt)

Vanderbilt University announced today that it has entered into an agreement with Barnes & Noble to relocate the university’s bookstore to the corner of 25th Avenue and West End Avenue where it will be operated by the national book retailer.

This fall the store, which will offer books and materials for a general audience as well as typical campus bookstore items, will open in the space at 2525 West End that formerly housed a Borders bookstore. The Borders closed May 15 as part of the company’s bankruptcy reorganization.

The existing Vanderbilt bookstore will continue to operate in Rand Hall on campus until the relocation.

Benefits for community, campus

“A strong and thriving bookstore where a campus community can easily gather for literary and intellectual offerings is critically important to a university,” said Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos. “This new location and partnership give us an even greater opportunity to advance our academic mission for the campus and the larger Nashville community.”

The lack of a major bookstore in the area was a consideration in the decision, but Richard McCarty, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, also noted the new bookstore will be contiguous to campus in an area already frequented by students. “It will be well positioned for the community and add quality to the campus,” he said.

Several factors came into play in the university’s decision to relocate the existing bookstore. Because it is in the interior of campus, there is no adjacent and little nearby parking, making it difficult for off-campus patrons to reach. The 2525 West End location has access to a 200-space garage and 100 surface spaces. The Rand bookstore has limited hours of operation; the new one will be open evenings and through the weekend. Because the new store will be near Memorial Gym, Vanderbilt Stadium and other athletic venues, it will be more convenient for sports fans to purchase Vanderbilt apparel.

New opportunities, services

In addition to the items customers would expect to find at other Barnes & Noble retail outlets, the new bookstore will offer Vanderbilt textbooks, course materials, apparel and other university items. A café will also be housed in the store. McCarty said the new location makes possible the scheduling of authors’ nights and other kinds of programming that the limited Rand space cannot accommodate.

Through Barnes & Noble College, a wholly owned subsidiary, Barnes & Noble operates more than 630 campus bookstores across the United States for such institutions as Harvard, Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, Indiana University and Georgia Tech.

“We’re honored to have formed this new partnership with Vanderbilt University and look forward to bringing them what’s next in educational content and retailing excellence,” said Max J. Roberts, president, Barnes & Noble College. “Our commitment to driving innovation, delivering advanced technology, understanding what students need and supporting the needs of higher education will help us to transform the Vanderbilt bookstore into a robust and vital part of the university and the surrounding greater West End community.”

Rand Hall space decision delayed

The future use of the Rand Hall space that is being vacated has not yet been determined. “This is prime space, right in the heart of campus,” McCarty said. “Our hope is to engage student leaders as well as staff in deciding the best use of that space.”

Possibilities include expansion of the dining space as well as additional social and meeting space for students, but no decision is expected until after the start of the school year in August. “We pledged to Vanderbilt Student Government that no hard decision would be made until students get back and we can convene a committee,” McCarty said.  

Media Inquiries:
Elizabeth Latt, (615) 322-NEWS

  • eah


  • Nick

    Nice!!  Love it.  Is there a timetable for the move? 

  • V4m

    While the new location is good, I feel bad for the staff and families of the current bookstore employees. They were always so great and flexible to work with. Plus Barnes & Noble has closed stores around the nation (just like Borders) so are they a sound choice financially?

    • As part of the agreement, Barnes & Noble will give consideration to every employee of the current Vanderbilt bookstore who is interested in working for Barnes & Noble.

      • Vandy12

        This isn’t very reassuring… Barnes & Noble should be giving consideration to their applicants regardless. Are they giving them priority over other applicants to their company?

        • Yes – B&N has committed to hiring the current bookstore staff who are interested in working for them.

  • Faye Johnson

    This is great news …. I am so glad that they are going to have a bookstore back in this part of town.

  • Emily

    Hope no one needs to grab something on the way to class, though, since the bookstore is totally out of the way now

  • VL

    I think it is great, but feel like there should be a kiosk or something at Rand where students can pick up quick supplies while at lunch.

    • KS

      There are school supplies sold in the JR Varsity market in Rand.

  • Karen

    Will the Commodore Card be accepted at Barnes and Noble?

  • Disgaea

    Will there be opportunities for Vanderbilt students to work there?!

  • Student&Nashvillian

    I’m confused as to whether Vanderbilt wants this bookstore to be more for students or for the community.  Regardless, it’s rather ironic that this is happening right after Vanderbilt let VSC sell WRVU, which was one of our richest and oldest connections between students and the community.

  • Donica

    As for the new open Rand space, I feel as though it would be great to expand the dining area to include more tables and possibly a new eatery.  The tables would be greatly appreciated during the dense lunch times for students.

  • Vandystudent

    Well if this comment makes it to the comment section (without being censored), I will be more inclined to believe that Vanderbilt really takes our feedback into consideration.

    As an undergraduate student, I think this was the wrong move. Students went to the bookstore was because it was conveniently located next to Rand/Chef James. As a student I would stop by the bookstore after lunch and pick up some supplies (despite the fact that I could purchase the same items for half the price elsewhere). The Varsity stores do not really have a diverse selection of school supplies. They do sell blue books and pens but they do not sell printer paper, printer ink, textbooks, etc.’

    If their goal was to get locals to purchase things from the VU bookstore, that is quite ambitious. It’s a known fact that college bookstores charge more for their products because a percentage of the sales goes directly to the University. As a student, I am totally content with spending a little more money to help my school. However, I’m not sure if locals who do not go to Vanderbilt will be willing to spend more money for something they can get online for less (This is not for all products, but for many). 

    I think that Vanderbilt really needs to get its student’s opinions on these matters before they act. 

  • VandyGuy

    All things considered, this sounds pretty awesome.  The space they’re moving into is huge, and I’m sure the partnership with B&N will mean a much *cough* wider selection of books.  I just hope the open Rand space is well utilized.  There’s a lot of good things that could be done there.

  • MB

    Put in a Chik-Fil-A!!!!!!!!!

  • MM

    Students, AND Faculty AND Staff still need a centralized Rand to grab daily urgent items like school supplies, office supplies, and snack/OTC things.  I hope they either keep those items at Rand or expand the munchie-mart there to include them.
    Would be helpful.
    Also, don’t forget about the awesome Rand Bookstore workers who have always been there, know their customers and their customers’ needs.  They are an asset we need to keep.

    • Thank you Michael. Barnes & Noble has agreed to hire all current bookstore employees who wish to work at the new location.

  • Cindi

    This is awesome.  I am so glad because I see so many people walking around the front of Sarratt trying to find the bookstore.  So many sales were lost because the bookstore was hard to find.  But, I feel we need to keep the convenience of our students in mind and ease of getting to supplies when thinking of new uses for space. 

  • Good. I can’t wait!  I would think that this store would offer even more resources to the students despite its proximity.  It would also offer a new revenue stream due to the patronage of the general public too! Again, great idea!

  • Seymour ’02

    I think a downsized bookstore might be a good use for the Rand space; maybe one floor.

    Moving things like VU logo items to the new location makes sense, as does letting B&N handle things like the selection of Books and especially of Music, which will probably improve at the larger location.

    But other things make less sense when moved off campus, like Textbooks – no one from the community wants to buy a Chemistry 101 textbook, and the off-campus location could make better use of its retail space if not saddled with the responsibility of stocking rows of textbooks.

    School supplies will also be less convenient at the off-campus location – rather than offering a small variety of basics at the Varsity Market, have a *full* selection of things like printer paper (and ink while you’re at it), blank digital media, office supplies, OTC items, etc., not to mention course textbooks.

    In short, only move part of the bookstore off-campus, and reduce the size of the on-campus one.

    • Linda Harris

      I could not agree with you more! This makes total sense! Thank you for your comments.

  • SG

    PUT IN A FOOD COURT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Hillsinfranklin

    My family and I are among the hundreds or thousands of people that avoid going to the campus bookstore due to no convenient parking. Now fans can easily get there. Go Commodores!nn

  • Theresa Hulbert

    I’ve been to that bookstore before, I’ve seen it emptied twice but good thing they changed it to barns n nobles.

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