August 31, 1998
Volume 51, No. 2
New customer-driven, academic attitude for Lullwater Books
In a move designed to better serve the needs of both students and faculty, Lullwater Books is changing its focus and becoming "the first academic bookstore on a college campus in the state," according to its director, Susan Lester.
What this will mean for customers of Lullwater, located inside the Emory Bookstore, will be fewer bestsellers and more non-textbook academic titles, fewer magazines and more essentials for a student's life. Lester said it is a move in the works almost since she was hired two years ago.
"We started looking around, and you can buy New York Times bestsellers at Winn Dixie," Lester said. "We needed to find another service we could offer that the Emory community was lacking. What do our students want and need? That's kind of the whole beginning of trying to be an academic bookstore and get away from the things Chapter 11 and Barnes & Noble do great."
Lester accomplished the goal in steps. First she hired Bruce Covey as her associate director because of his expertise in dealing with academic titles, including a five-year stint at Bookhaven, Yale University's academic bookstore. Lester then enlisted the enthusiastic help of Provost Rebecca Chopp.
"Great research universities should have excellent academic bookstores: Seminary Coop at Chicago, Labyrinths at Columbia, to name just a few," Chopp said. "These bookstores become a center for finding new resources for research, gathering with friends, picking up new books in one's field. Bookstores symbolize the love of knowledge and realize our constant search for new ways to look at subjects of academic study."
Now Lullwater is a full academic bookstore where students can go and find supplemental readings without having to order them. Faculty, also, can now go to the store and shop for their own scholarly needs at their own academic bookstore.
"We want to be known as experts at getting academic books very quickly," Covey said, "and that's where we can compete with the online booksellers and even beat them. Because we can anticipate people's needs, we'll have a lot of books in stock. And we can also compete in price because often the discounts online bookstores give are not on their academic titles."
But beyond books, the bookstore is also evolving to better serve the day-to-day needs of students. This other facet incorporates Emory Etc., the small store that used to deal only in music CDs, videotape rentals and various small candy and snacks. Now moved across the hallway in the Dobbs Center from its previous location and expanded to include the Copy Center, Emory Etc. is more like a regular convenience store, open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., though Lester said she will adjust the hours to fit students' needs.
"Something we have that we didn't cover in the very beginning was mattress covers," Lester explained for example. "Now, some [requests] are unrealistic; I'm not going to go out and buy a gross of guitar picks. But we're extremely open to suggestions, and we've carried over bluebooks and highlighters and pens and such from the main store, so that if someone needs at bluebook at 10 p.m. or 7 a.m., when the main store's not open, we can get those over there."