The Studystore on campus is down-sizing and will continue on after the summer as a service point located in the new Polak building. Sadly, for some 17 of the 24 branches the prognosis is worse: they will be forced to close their doors for good this year.

The study-bookstore chain, which is present at many Dutch institutes of higher learning, recently reported this development. The reason for the bookstore closures is increasing online sales, which the company wants to invest in. Some 85 percent of Studystore’s turnover is already from online sales.

As a result, physical shops are no longer profitable in many cities. “We have looked into the matter, and our study showed that 70 percent of students prefer to buy their books online. Then you can keep the stores open, but you also invest at the same time against disaster,” says Hylco Wijnants, manager of campus shops at Studystore. “Moreover, students are very sensitive to pricing, so you also want to give them a good deal. And the overhead costs of a physical store are always high.”

Forced redundancy

For the 67 staff members currently manning the shops, 13 of which are on a temporary contract, this marks the start of a period of uncertainty. They have been deemed redundant and have to re-apply. For a number of them, a new position will be found internally, ”but with locations from Vlissingen to Leeuwarden, it’s just not realistic to assume there will be no forced redundancies,” explains Wijnants.

Closer to student organisations

In addition to the shop on the Rotterdam campus, the branches in The Hague, Wageningen and at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences are also being turned into service points. In the smaller branches, there will no longer be general interest books for sale.

Moreover, the intention is to form closer contact via the service points with the student associations, which arrange the book sales via the Studystore. For some of the other branches, particularly those at universities of applied science, the show’s over in April. The remaining branches are planned to be closed or turned into service points starting in October. EvR