UW Campuses Outsource Bookstores To Private Retailer

UW-Superior Also Part Of Deal With Nebraska Book Company

All 12 UW two-year campuses are on the contract with the Nebraska Book Company. Photo: Aaron Brown (CC-BY-NC).

Most University of Wisconsin two-year campuses and one four-year campus, UW-Superior, are outsourcing their bookstores to the Nebraska Book Company (NEEBO).

UW-Superior will officially outsource their campus bookstore on July 1. Chancellor Renee Wachter says it was a tough decision that could mean some long-time employees losing their jobs, but that a $270,000 annual deficit forced the decision.

“Covering losses or trying to dig yourself out sometimes is not viable, and when you think about the buying power and the leverage that these organizations have to deliver services cheaper to students with more options, that economy of scale makes a difference,” said Wachter.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

UW-Extension Auxiliary Director Bill Mann is shepherding campuses through the transition. Mann says the new contract with NEEBO reduces prices and increases choices for students and faculty while guaranteeing a commission for the colleges.

UW-Marathon Dean Keith Montgomery says they made the changeover last summer.

“It’s working great,” said Montgomery. “(NEEBO is) very responsive to student needs in terms of what they offer for sale in the store in terms of books. I know for a fact the students have never had more choice.”

Montgomery says they tried using co-op and non-profit bookstores but continued running a deficit until signing on with NEEBO: “Bookstores are under a lot of pressure and competition so to some extent we brought in NEEBO, which was the competition, and they’ve done a good job.”

NEEBO also offers the best possible price for textbooks, matching or beating online companies such as Amazon.

The only two-year UW campuses that are not part of the NEEBO contract are UW-Marinette and UW-Manitowoc.

Correction: The original version of this story said that there are 12 University of Wisconsin two-year campuses. There are actually 14.