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Thoughts on the closure of the University of Leeds bookshop

August 5, 2010

In the space of 28 hours since launching a petition to save the campus bookshop, nearly 200 people have already signed, demonstrating an incredible dedication to the bookshop. To have this level of outrage generated in the first days of August is unprecedented.

UCU notes that today webcomms sent an email to all staff in which, below the information of a substantial rise in research income, the official University response to the closure of the campus bookshop is given merely as “The University very much regrets the closure”.

Leeds Student today published this article on the subject

We copy below the statements that have thus far been appended to the petition.

Why has LUU not consulted staff and students on this? Why has there been no attempt to seek creative solutions to the bookshop’s difficulties? The timing of the closure is inexcusable and creates huge inconveniences for students and staff.

A world-class university without its own bookshop? Bizarre!

This is an unexpected and irresponsible decision… I am embarrassed to attend a university without a bookshop.

As a disabled student I and others would feel the loss of Union Books very keenly as the other bookshops are difficult to access.

This is utterly, utterly ridiculous. My faith in the university is eroding ever more quickly.

I think this is disgraceful – the bookshop has been an asset to students and staff at Leeds since the early 1970s, and as one of the very few alternatives to the chains it’s something to keep alive and invest in.

Closing the Union bookshop is already a PR disaster for this University. Once term-time arrives it will become a pedagogical disaster.

The world’s top 50 universities have their own bookshops. We MUST retain the bookshop!

A university building in which i can buy a cornish pasty but not a book? how embarrassing.

I appreciate that book sales may be declining and that conventional bookshops face an increasingly challenging environment given the growth of e-books and the web. However, Union books is not only an exceptional bookshop but has been used by Leeds Student Union as a unique selling point which celebrates the fact that the Union is something more than a drinking den! It is a desperate shame when what appears to be a crass commercial decision is taken which further serves to erode the notion that the University and the Student Union are in the business of providing education – a bookshop is surely central to this mission

The university needs to remember that first and foremost it is an academic institution. Providing a student-rate book shop is an integral aspect of this responsibility.

The LUU is by far and away the best student and academic bookshop in Leeds. The staff are incredibly helpful, understand academic and student needs properly and prepare essential student reading packs for courses which no other bookshop does. the last alone would be a huge loss to module services for students.

As a disabled student I find Union Books invaluable.

Please do not shut the bookshop! It is an integral part of the union and academic life will suffer as a result, it is truly in everybody’s interest that students and academics alike have access to new books somewhere on campus that is not the library. At a time when fees are augmenting each year, we deserve an on-campus shop to service our need for books, without having to resort to the internet. It is mindboggling that the university will accept this pattern and not encourage students to frequent the bookshop. Blackwells (across the road from the Brotherton) is no way near as inspiring a bookshop as Union Books, so it will be a great loss to everyone, book lovers or not. Unless the University wants to see the decline of standards for its students, then it is imperative for a well-supported bookshop to be available to the thousands of students coming to Leeds in the years ahead. Do not let a closure happen, for if not the capitalist market will have triumphed again and us students will have been betrayed by a university and union unwilling to support the importance of the printed word, no matter how much profit the shop makes. I believe there is still a chance for the shop to succeed and we still have time to act, the university must step in to protect this essential service to our studies.

Astonishing to see a major university like Leeds close its book shop. How can an institution aspiring to be a major research centre do such a thing?

With its professionalism and enthusiasm and local understanding Leeds uni bookshop does a great job for students and especially for a subject like English providing course books and bookstalls at readings and special events. It would be a great shame if it were to close.

This will cause great hassle for all students, how are modern language students in particular supposed to get books which are published abroad now?

What are you doing, honestly? Come off it.

This would be a great loss to the University.

This bookshop is a resource for the whole region, not just the university. With better publicity it could make a serious profit.

I think the bookshop is vital. They stock all books on reading lists. Sometimes it is impossible to get books online. Second hand scheme is also very very good

I think it is such a bad idea to close the book shop down. It has been so helpful having it so close, and knowing that almost all the books you are going to need for your course are in there.

The Union Book shop is vital to the university! It has saved me so many times when Amazon, for example, is being unreliable. Buying books online may occasionally be cheaper, but unlike the Union Book Shop, there is no guarantee of getting them on time!

Amazon is an excellent resource for finding popular books cheaply; however, in all areas of academia there are books of such specificity that they will simply not be on amazon, and I’ve found the Union bookstore invaluable for purchasing more obscure books on my course. And to reiterate – a top 100 world university without a bookshop? If it’s making a loss, then subsidise it: this is a university not a business, and a university needs an academic bookstore.

This is an invaluable service which I use regularly for pleasure and for my own part-time studies as a member of staff. The staff are far more friendly, knowledgeable and helpful than those at a very local bookstore I could mention but won’t. The stationery side is also very useful.

I rely heavily on using the union bookshop and it is a commodity that should be valued in a STUDENT union, where everyone requires academic books, which in some instances I have struggled to find online, but the union bookshop has not let me down!

I use this frequently myself. I feel as a University (a place for study and reading) this should remain for all staff and students alike.

I currently work in LUBS and have worked at the university for the last 5 years. in this time I have not heard anything as ridiculous as a university without a bookshop within its student union. A union that purports to be the best in the UK. absolute rubbish

This is a valuable resource for students, without a book shop on campus, we will be at a significant disadvantage. SAVE IT!

This should not happen. The Union bookshop provides a vital service for students and staff alike.

Please do not close the Leeds University book shop

The Bookshop is at the heart of the Union and the Campus. It’s an absolutely vital part of the University, and its loss would be nothing short of catastrophic.

Please do not close the Leeds University bookshop.

Please don’t close the bookshop, it has all the necessary course books in one place, and the staff are all very helpful.

As one of our postgraduate students notes, there must be ways to keep Union Books afloat as a viable business.

This is an appalling decision that will damage the reputation of the University and directly affect students’ education.

What’s happening to the textbook orders we’ve already placed? What a good way to create confusion for new students and to have a negative experience for them right at the beginning of their courses.

Please don’t close the bookstore! It’s a really great one!!! 🙂

A great university needs a great bookstore.

Maybe if the university made cuts where it matters (e.g. by not doing all the f*****g pointless building work that they insist on doing) then they wouldn’t even think about doing something so stupid.

The bookshop has been of incredible use to me throughout my first year, and is an essential part of the union. The proposed closure is patently ridiculous.

Don’t shut this shop down, it’s an essential and important resource for books as well as being fairly well priced.

The more services that students and academic staff lose, the more students and academic staff the University will lose. Eventually, it won’t be a University any more. That’s not going to make much of an income.

Hard to imagine a university without a bookshop. External sources are bound to be more expensive. This may well put prospective students off from applying to Leeds.

The decision to close Union Books is appalling and it must be reversed.

I realise you can’t get the same deals as the bigger firms but maybe just chop the shop in half and start a swap and sell used books system. Thanks, good luck

Do not close the bookshop. It has proved invaluable for me and many of my friends. The university should not be depriving its students of the chance to do well.

Do not close the Leeds University bookshop

The bookshop provides an invaluable service to both students and staff, and closing it would have damaging implications for the quality of both learning and teaching at the University, as well as placing further financial burdens on students

The bookshop provides valuable support for learning and teaching, including specialist help from staff, and is a much appreciated element of any good university campus. Its closure would be a significant loss for Leeds.

This is an essential service to students to be able to get books and sell them on again.

Please keep the Union Bookshop open! It stocks specialist books for students and staff, and should not give in to the likes of Blackwells. It would be such a shame if we lost this resource, there must be a way to keep it going as a viable business.

The University Bookshop is a valuable resource. I petition for it to stay open! 🙂

To close a university bookshop destroys the fundamental dynamic of a university campus, and this should be apposed at every opportunity.

For the entire 4 years of my undergraduate degree at Leeds, I bought all of my books at the University book store. This year I am returning to study at Postgraduate level and intended to do the same. Being as MFL student, I have always found the book shop invaluable as buying my books online from overseas in a real hassle. If Leeds University prides itself on being a ‘Not For Profit’ organisation then why is it closing the bookshop? It certainly doesn’t have its students best interests at heart, that’s for sure.

I can’t believe that they’re even contemplating this. My undergraduate degree was French and music – do they know how hard it is to find MFL texts in the target language and at a reasonable price? The union bookshop not only makes our lives an awful lot easier – it’s generally cheaper than the other alternatives in town! Then there’s the fact that it also gives our Uni a little something extra – many other major universities do not have this resource!

Union books is a valuable part of the LUU and it’s loss and replacement with more meeting rooms would be a detriment to all students at the university of Leeds. Although there are other bookshops in the area, Union books exists especially for the students and staff here – I don’t think this service is replicable by Blackwells.

Keep it open.

I’m a student at Leeds Uni and I’ve used that shop a lot. Can’t we keep some independent traders going?

This is an important, easily accessible source of course books, and especially module-specific packs of extracts fundamental to core reading.

Studied for an MA at Leeds in 07/08. Cannot imagine studying at a university without an on-campus bookshop, such an invaluable resource for students.

I’ve found the bookshop an important aid to my studies. Can a University without a bookshop be appealing to students? No. Will it devalue the university. Without a doubt.

An academic institution cannot exist without a dedicated bookstore to serve the students and faculty, unless it wishes to lose the qualifier ‘academic’.

I think it is unfair that the bookshop should be left to close. This puts students such as myself who do not have regular access to the internet (to buy books from Amazon for example) at a major disadvantage. Please keep it open.

An outrageous idea to close this excellent bookshop!

This is truly ridiculous. Having a university bookshop is essential when it comes to tracking down academic books, most of which have limited print runs etc.

This is one of the most preposterous ideas I have ever heard of – a top class University such as Leeds without a specialist bookshop is completely unnacceptable. Close it and you fail your students.

This is an excellent bookshop: the best one in Leeds by far, and probably the best university bookshop in the country. It would be an outrage if it closed – it would not be in the interests of staff or students. Blackwells and Waterstones, who run the university bookshops in other places, are not prepared to order in the more specialist books staff need to teach and so give the students less exposure to important material putting them at a disadvantage. Bookshops are so important: there must be a way to keep it open and really acknowledge the university as just that: a university, a place of learning, not just a commercial enterprise.

Keep the bookshop open. Having Mike Gladstone come on Facebook and make a taunt about Amazon.com just tells you everything you need to know about the commitment he had as an Education officer. Is that really all the Student reps at LUU think?

If the bookshop is closed, at least I was very lucky to have got a number of interesting books from there, which I otherwise would never have heard of. This included an essential text book that was cheapest at the book shop (£35) and much more elsewhere. I think students of the future deserve the service too.

This is disgusting!

The book shop shouldn’t be closed! Not only does it supply people with jobs, but supplies students with books that are almost impossible to find elsewhere! This institution is supposed to provide a world-class education, but wants to close one of the main suppliers of learning and knowledge. This doesn’t make sense. At least try some sort of diversification before closing outright!

As a former student at the university, I find the decision to close the bookshop, a valuable resource for students and staff, a disgrace.

The Union bookshop provides invaluable support for Leeds students, it ensures the books needed for their modules are available, supplies a great second hand scheme and has comfy chairs. Please leave it well alone.

This is an embarrassment – especially as the Waterstone’s over the road is on its last legs.

The mere suggestion of closing the bookshop is proposterous! MADNESS!

It is extraordinary that one of the best independent bookshops in the country, academic or otherwise, should be forced to close.

This is a false economy: the loss of this service will actually increase the costs to students, staff and the university as a whole.

Considering that all current advertisements at the Union are about how it is being made even better, it is unfathomable how the loss of the bookshop can even be contemplated.

I have been using the bookshop since 1990. It’s loss will be leave gaping hole in the facilities provided on campus. As a life member of the union I want to see services prioritised and I doubt the long term success of the LUU strategy to compete with the High Street rather than providing something distinctive and focussed on university life on campus.

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