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There’s Something Missing From This College Bookstore: Books

Remember that Florida university with the bookless library? Here’s one with a bookless bookstore.

Lynn University, a small private school in Boca Raton, FL, went to a digital-first curriculum last year, and this year they’re following up that bold move with an even bolder one. Paving the way for B&N, this liberal arts school has removed all of the books from its bookstore:

Lynn University has removed some merchandise from its campus bookstore — books.

Almost every book needed for the 300 classes offered at the liberal arts university in Boca Raton are available by digital download. So officials decided a traditional book store was no longer needed.

It’s now been renamed the "Campus Store" and has aisles of iPad cases, shirts, coffee mugs and water bottles where textbooks once sat.

Students who prefer to read on paper can still buy traditional textbooks, but they now have to order them online.

As I reported last year, Lynn University has been working towards a digital-first curriculum for several years now. Following a pilot in the 2012-2013 school year, last fall the school issued iPad Minis to all of its incoming freshman class of 600 students.

I don’t have any specific details on how that worked out, but the school is clearly satisfied with the result; this year Lynn University went fully digital and issued iPad Minis to the full student body – 2,300 students in all.

While most schools would not be able to make this move without forcing students to spend a huge amount on expensive and nonreturnable digital textbooks, Lynn University says that they have an advantage. Most of their curriculum is produced in house, and that enables the school to pass the savings along to students.

"We’re committed to putting students first, and the transition to a virtual bookstore not only meets their needs, but also saves them time and money," said Chief Information Officer Chris Boniforti. "Course materials and books are shipped directly to the student’s door and downloadable content is sent straight to their iPad."

According to the press release, most of the textbooks are faculty produced, and can be downloaded for free. As a result, the average first-year business student reportedly spent close to $29 on textbooks, far less than the hundreds if not thousands that student would spend at other business schools.

images by quinn.anyaJohan Larsson

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Elaine October 6, 2014 um 12:26 pm

$29 a year? That is less than I spent on textbooks thirty years ago, and I was an English major who could by most of my books used.

Colleen October 6, 2014 um 3:13 pm

"Most of the curriculum is produced in house". Hmm. What a brilliant staff they must have. Sounds kinda scary. But then, nothing is scarier than the Texas overhaul of history.

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