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University Book Store Challenged On Own Turf By Amazon

Flickr Photo/brewbooks
University Book Store's main location in the University District.

Online retail juggernaut Amazon ruffled a few feathers on the University of Washington campus last week by setting up a booth to promote its Amazon Student program – just 20 feet away from the University Book Store’s outpost in the Husky Union Building.

University Book Store’s CEO Louise Little said that they took issue with placement of the booth, not with the apparent challenge to the store’s market. “We’re open for the competition,” she said.

Amazon Student is another option for bargain-minded students looking for expensive textbooks. But Little said that University Book Store, which has been independent from the University of Washington since 1964, already offers price comparison on its website – including Amazon’s deals.

The difference, she said, is that students are guaranteed to get the right version of the textbook they need because UBS works so closely with the university’s faculty. Little added that even with the online comparison shopping they offer, two-thirds of students choose to buy from UBS.