RMIT will open pop-up bookshops to deliver learning materials to students following the closure of the RMIT Bookshop.
The bookshop ran as an independent co-op for over 50 years, but closed their Little La Trobe Street doors for the final time on April 30.
Pop-up shops will appear mid-June in Building 202, Level 2 of the Bundoora campus, and Building 28, Level 5 of the City campus.
Former general manager of the Melbourne Co-Operative Bookshop Group (MCBG), Lyn Binder said the store had been in financial trouble for some time.
“We suffered a large loss last year, and our very responsible board decided the only thing we could do was close down,” she said.
Ms Binder said other campus bookshops are struggling to stay afloat in a changing industry.
“Technology is slowly taking over, and many students are only interested in e-books.
“We are also at the mercy of publishers moving heavily into digital platforms,” she said.
Catalyst understands in June 2012 the MCBG received a draft proposal from RMIT Property Services for space in the newly built Swanston Academic Building (SAB).
The SAB opened in July 2012, but the parties failed to reach an agreement.
“They offered us a very small space with not nearly enough room.
“We do think if we’d been in that building things might have been different,” said Ms Binder.
In February of this year the bookshop was already considering its future, and planned to engage with various departments of RMIT to discuss taking over the business.
Dean of Students Professor Owen Hughes stressed the bookshop was independent from RMIT and the University was not involved in its closure.
“The bookshop was a fully commercial operation with its own staff paying rental on its premises, which are also not RMIT’s.
“It is indeed a shame that the bookshop has closed after 53 years of service.
“However, the University plans to establish RMIT Shops that will provide learning materials as well as the merchandise provided in the newly opened Linktopia stores.
“It is my aim and those who are working with me on this to enhance the student experience, (and) I am confident the outcome will be better for all students and staff,” said Professor Hughes.
Ms Binder said it had been a trying period for employees.
“We have one lady who’s been
working here for 41 years, and now she’s out of a job.”
While most students won’t need to buy new books and learning materials until the beginning of semester two, the closure means RMIT will have no face-to-face bookshop for six weeks.
Arrangements are being made to ensure that textbooks will be available for sale to students in June.