WESTCHESTER, IL, May 17, 2019 – Follett, the largest campus retailer in North America, announced today that it has been chosen by the University of Houston System Board of Regents to manage six campus retail locations across the UH System's four universities: University of Houston, University of Houston-Clear Lake, University of Houston-Downtown and University of Houston-Victoria. With the switch comes new affordability options for course materials, fresh merchandise and integrated online services and learning materials for students.
"We are excited to partner with the UH System—the fourth largest university system in Texas," said Alan Stratman, VP of Marketing at Follett Higher Education Group. "As the largest campus retailer in North America, Follett is committed to improving campus life for students and is well-positioned to take the UH System to the next level."
"The University of Houston System has grown exponentially in the last nine years, which was when our current bookstore contract was initiated," said Emily Messa, UH System associate vice chancellor for administration. "Technology has advanced and it was time to evaluate our options to ensure that we are delivering affordability and innovative, first-to-market initiatives in the university bookstores that serve more than 73,000 students across the UH System."
The switch from the UH System's current vendor, Barnes and Noble, to Follett Higher Education Group will occur in late June. Students and faculty at the four UH System universities will benefit from Follett's expansive inventory of affordable course materials and integrated digital tools. Cost-saving print options include used books as well as a textbook rental program that can save students up to 80 percent compared to purchasing new. Additionally, Follett will offer students affordable open educational resources (OER), content and courseware, a diverse selection of digital technologies, and price matching and year-round buyback programs.
The campus stores at UH (including the store in Sugar Land), University of Houston-Clear Lake and University of Houston-Downtown will briefly close in mid-June. The stores will be rebranded and reimagined to better reflect each unique university and the needs of its student body. When the stores re-open just days later, students will see a refreshed assortment of university branded merchandise as well as products that align with national trends in clothing, gifts, supplies and technology.
Follett will also manage the new campus store at the University of Houston-Victoria located in the University Commons building, an 80,000-square-foot student center that is in the final stages of construction. UHV faculty and students previously used the bookstore at Victoria College.
Transition teams are in place to ensure a smooth changeover with minimal impact to students and faculty. The full transition to Follett will occur prior to the fall semester.
"We are excited about the opportunity to take our bookstores and related services to a new level of excellence for our students and faculty," said Messa. "We look forward to working with UHS administrators and faculty to create a multi-year vision for bookstore management with a consistent focus on student affordability and access for learning materials."
UH Auxiliary Services, working with the other UH System universities, issued a request for proposal (RFP) outlining its objectives for the UH System bookstores. Follett was selected by a multi-disciplinary evaluation committee made up of representatives from all UHS campuses, faculty, staff, administrators and student leadership.
About Follett Corporation
Follett Corporation is the world's largest single source of books, digital content and multi-media for libraries, schools and institutions. Headquartered in Westchester, Illinois, Follett provides education technology, services and physical and digital content to millions of students at 70,000 schools and more than 2,700 physical and virtual campus stores in North America. Through Baker & Taylor, Follett's reach also extends to the public library markets.
About the University of Houston System
The University of Houston System (UHS) is the region's largest provider of comprehensive university services, serving more than 72,000 students annually and producing a $7-billion impact on the Greater Houston economy each year. UHS includes four separate institutions -- the University of Houston, University of Houston-Clear Lake, University of Houston-Downtown and University of Houston-Victoria -- as well as several teaching centers across Greater Houston. Each university offers undergraduate and graduate degrees. UHS also operates KUHF-FM, a National Public Radio station, and KUHT-TV, a PBS affiliate. For more information, see UHS www.uhsystem.edu/uh-system/