A student from Queen’s University is unhappy that a pop up store is being chosen as the solution to a lack of academic bookshops for students in the University area of South Belfast.
Queen’s have announced a deal with Blackwell’s Bookshops to sell books to students, but it will not be replacing the previously closed store on a permanent basis. A spokesperson for Queen’s explained the terms of the university’s new relationship with Blackwell’s.
“Following a tender process of the supply of academic books, Queen’s has awarded the contract to Blackwell’s who have over half a century’s experience in academic book selling.
“In addition to the availability of an online book ordering service, Blackwell’s will also provide a temporary ‘pop-up’ service to meet demand from students.”
The university has stressed that they will only be providing a ‘pop up’ store to support students during the first few weeks of term. This temporary bookshop will be located within the Students Union and will provide staff and students with a small window of opportunity to purchase academic books.
Andrew Charles is a PhD student who lives in Stranmillis.
“When the Queen’s Book Shop closed last August, it left a severe gap in the academic services for students. I had originally been excited by rumours that the successful book sellers, Blackwell, were opening their first Northern Ireland store, but I have been left disappointed by the news of a pop up store,” he said.
Irish booksellers, Eason’s, have closed two bookstores in Northern Ireland and their administration centre in Boucher Crescent in June of this year. Andrew Charles feels that Queen’s is offering a short-term solution to the lack of bookstores that will be detrimental to students.
“There has been no bookstore for almost a year to facilitate an academic environment.
“Texts, which the original store provided, have not been available online or in the library. I just think a great opportunity has been missed to provide the permanent provision of academic books from a top bookstore like Blackwell’s.”
Other bids were made to secure the contract but Queen’s would not comment on who was in competition with Blackwell’s.