PULLMAN, Wash. — Following an extensive review process, the board of directors of Washington State University’s Students Book Corporation (“the Bookie”) has agreed to contract with Barnes & Noble College Booksellers to manage all Bookie locations around the state, including Pullman, Spokane, Tri-Cities and Vancouver, beginning July 1.

Barnes & Noble, the nation’s oldest and largest retail bookseller, currently operates more than 500 campus bookstores nationwide.

In seeking proposals to provide management services for the Bookie, the board’s key goals were to maintain the lowest possible price of textbooks, to maximize returns to the Bookie and to provide a financially stable base for continued bookstore operations. Students will continue to receive an 8 percent point-of-sale discount on their textbook purchases.

Board members said the partnership will combine the best aspects of the Bookie’s pricing and practices while leveraging the experience and resources of this international company. The board will continue to provide oversight to the Bookie, while the day-to-day management of the bookstores will be in the hands of the Barnes & Noble retail experts.

The Students Book Corporation Board of Directors is made up of five WSU students recommended by the Associated Students of WSU and the Graduate and Professional Student Association, two tenured faculty recommended by the president and two administrators recommended by the vice president of business affairs. The board has been reviewing the responses to the request for proposals that was issued December 15, 2003.

Board chair Ashley Lund said, “It is important to note that the students will continue to own the Bookie; we believe that contracting with Barnes and Noble will improve the returns to retained earnings, improve the return to students while ultimately resulting in lower textbook prices to students.

” Board secretary Francis Stroshal said, “The change in management of the Bookie is first and foremost to benefit students. We want to expand the opportunities provided by the Bookie to give the students of WSU the best services possible.”

Board faculty representative Ron Mittlehammer praised the role of the student board members in making the change. “Without the tremendous leadership of the student directors, this transition would not have been possible,” he said.

The transition to the new management will occur over the next month. Analysis of the transitions of similar university stores to Barnes & Noble has revealed that the vast majority of employees retain employment under the new management.

The University of Colorado, the University of Michigan, Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, Texas A & M, the University of Maryland-College Park and the University of Mississippi are among the major state universities whose bookstores are currently operated by Barnes & Noble College Booksellers.

For more information on Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, see http://www.bkstore.com