Bookstore competition heats up, students remain victors

From The Mercury Archives: Sept. 2, 1992

The competitive battle between UTD’s bookstore and Off Campus Bookstore has benefitted UTD students, as the campus bookstore is forced to cut book prices and open longer hours.

“Prices at the campus bookstore were very high,” said Alison Keenan, who owns Off Campus Books with her husband, Patrick. “Their books were marked $1 over retail.”

Keenan said her bookstore saved UTD students 7 to 10 percent on books. Between 70 percent and 80 percent of their books are used.

“It’s true we have made some price adjustments due to competition from Off Campus Bookstore,” said Jerry Solomon, assistant vice president for Business affairs. “You know, competition works.”

The campus bookstore’s counterattack has deflated the price differential between the two rivals. But according to Keenan, the “playing field” is not level.

“The Texas Open Record Act requires the campus bookstore to provide book lists from professors to us in a timely manner,” she said, “but instead they linger in getting the information to us. They are the depository of this information.”

She claims that there is a “degree of unfairness” in the competition between Off Campus and the UTD bookstore. “It’s their duty to make the information public,” Keenan said.

“It’s not true,” Solomon said, referring to the delivery of book lists to Off Campus. “We’re making it available for pickup twice a week.”

Keenan, who went on the record saying the UTD bookstore is “wonderful,” accused the Campus store of “throwing stumbling blocks” in front of her business recently.

“They’re not used to competition,” she said. “We want to be an alternative bookstore for students and faculty.”