Bookstore, Textbook Changes Slated For 2016

Bookstore, Textbook Changes Slated For 2016

In an effort to be more efficient and save money for students, UWM is making some changes related to buying, selling, and renting textbooks. These changes will not impact student textbooks for the fall 2015 semester. But, beginning in January 2016, students will see positive changes in the cost and convenience of acquiring textbooks.

The plan will introduce a new online method for students to obtain their text books and course materials, and to provide a portal for students to sell their books at the end of the semester.


Across the country, the traditional university bookstore model has been impacted by the evolving textbook industry and intense online competition.  The UWM Bookstore has experienced the same trend:

  • Textbook and course materials sales have declined 23% since 2010; and
  • Campus overhead costs have increased 41% since 2009-10.

In early 2014, in consultation with UWM Bookstore leadership, it was determined the current business model for the UWM Bookstore was not sustainable.


In November of 2014, a project support team was formed, composed of representatives of shared governance groups and impacted operational areas such as the UWM Libraries, Registrar’s Office, Business and Financial Services, and University Information Technology Services. The team explored multiple options, and recommended the following actions:

  • Establish an online vendor for textbook and course materials purchases;
  • The online vendor should provide in-person customer service at UWM; and
  • The UWM Bookstore should reduce its physical space but retain offerings of convenience items and UWM spirit merchandise.

The recommendations were presented to all shared governance groups and the Chancellors’ Cabinet.  The recommendations were accepted, and the Request for Proposal (RFP) phase for a new vendor is currently underway.


Starting in November of 2015, the UWM Bookstore will:

  • Provide a new online method for students to purchase/rent/download their texts;
  • Provide a portal for students to sell their books at the end of the semester; and
  • Reduce and remodel its physical store space.

Again please note the procedures for ordering and purchasing books and course materials will remain unchanged for the 2015 summer sessions and fall semester. The process for ordering books after that time will be clarified once a new vendor is identified.


The following is the expected timeline, which is subject to change:

  • June 2015 – Complete RFP review
  • Aug. 2015 – After negotiations are complete, sign agreement with vendor
  • Oct. 2015 – Start UWM Bookstore physical space renovations
  • Nov. 2015 – Launch new web site for UWinteriM 2016 and Spring Semester 2016
  • Jan. 2016 – Physical space renovations in UWM Bookstore are completed
  • Jan. 2016 – Virtual textbook store vendor is prepared to deliver materials ordered online