New downtown bookstore attracts students and community members

By Meghan Finlayson

Staff Writer

Moving to downtown Lewisburg has enabled the Barnes & Noble at Bucknell University to expand its range of products and services.

The bookstore increased its size and volume to include a café and additional merchandise.

“Moving from the 12,500-square-foot space in the Elaine Langone Center to the 29,000-square-foot space at 400 Market Street allowed us to dramatically increase the amount and variety of merchandise we are able to carry, especially in regards to books and Bucknell clothing,” bookstore manager Vicki Benion said. “As a Barnes & Noble collegiate superstore, we also carry a large assortment of games and gifts for readers. In fact, our store is among the top sellers of the Nook, Barnes & Noble’s e-reader.”

Along with the increase in merchandise, the new bookstore has also updated the textbook sales process for students.

“We have streamlined the textbook sales process by providing a link from the class schedule page in BannerWeb, where students can see the required course materials for their classes. Through our textbook reservation system, students may choose to either pick up their books in the store or have them delivered to their homes or the post office on campus,” Benion said.

Finally, the bookstore now hosts events for University students, faculty and administration, and the Lewisburg community.

“[In the café] we schedule frequent entertainment by local performers and a monthly Open Mic night. For special weekends, the café hosts performances by performers such as the Bucknell a cappella groups and visits from Bucky Bison and the Lewisburg Green Dragon,” Benion said. “Most recently, in celebration of Lewisburg’s Ice Festival, the bookstore featured a beautiful ice sculpture plus musical entertainment and three local authors. The store also has a Wii in the café and sponsor-related special events.”

In terms of events for all of Lewisburg, the bookstore has “Little Bookworms” story time every Saturday and hosts the American Girl Book Club once a month.

“I think the new and expanded bookstore is great. It now sells more than just books and basic merchandise. Students can go there to hang out, have a cup of coffee or study,” Kate Monahan ’13 said.

Despite all the new advantages the bookstore has to offer, not all students are a fan of the new location and expansion.

“As a freshman I went to the bookstore all the time since it was centrally located in the ELC. Now that it is downtown, I do not go as often, and last year as a freshman without a car, I would never have gone,” Katherine Griffith ’13 said.

However, moving the bookstore downtown has also had its benefits.

“The added events, merchandise and being located in a beautifully restored historic building downtown has led to significant increases in community traffic,” Benion said.

The new building has started a lot of conversation and, looking ahead, the bookstore will continue to develop and grow.

“Our most recent expansion has been in trendy, non-imprinted merchandise such as rain boots, leggings, and adding a Clinique vending machine,” Benion said.

The Barnes & Noble at Bucknell University bookstore relocated to downtown Lewisburg this past summer. There was a “soft opening” on June 26, followed by a grand opening celebration the weekend of August 27-29.

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