B&N College to Run U. of Montana Bookstore, Fact & Fiction Out

"After racking up losses of nearly $1.8 million in four years," the Bookstore at the University of Montana is finalizing negotiations with Barnes & Noble College to operate the campus store, the Missoulian reported. A letter of intent signed by officials from the bookstore and B&N College "anticipates the parties will work in good faith to negotiate an agreement by the end of June." Bookstore COO Eamon Fahey said the nonprofit is slated to turn over keys on July 2, and an initial contract is expected to be in place for five years.

"I think ultimately, this is going to benefit everyone," Fahey said. "The Bookstore organization will end up in a better place financially. All of our employees have an opportunity to stay on employed."

Fact and Fiction bookstore, which is owned by the same nonprofit that runs the university bookstore, is also giving up its space in the campus store where it sold trade books not used for class, but will continue to operate its downtown location, NBC Montana reported. 

"Unfortunately, sales in that section [in the campus store] were also on the decline, so it has shrunk over the years, and we tried to--as I would say--right-size it. And nothing was really quite working until we had shrunk it down quite a bit before this transition was decided upon," said Mara Panich-Crouch, general manager at Fact and Fiction, which will be completely separate from the campus bookstore, yet still under the UM Bookstore Foundation.

Fact and Fiction is run as a for-profit, independent bookstore. "They consider it a community service, because we're a big part of the literary community and the reading community of Missoula," Panich-Crouch added.

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