In a move to save its students money, SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly), in New York State, is launching an online bookstore to serve its nearly 3,000 students.

SUNY Poly explained in a press release that the bookstore will offer all required textbooks and course materials through an integrated eCommerce experience.

“As we continue to meet pandemic-induced challenges through online and hybrid approaches not only to teaching, but also the student experience itself, and as SUNY Poly continues to provide even more online options for students, we saw this as an important opportunity to deliver course materials in a fully-online platform,” said John Reale, SUNY Poly Executive Director of Auxiliary Services. “The shift to fully online bookstore operations is reflective of our commitment to making textbooks and course materials more affordable and competitively-priced in formats that are more accessible and inclusive for students.”

The school cited a recent survey which found that the cost of required textbooks can have a negative impact on student success, noting that some respondents indicated that high prices can lead to earning a poor grade, failing a course, or not registering for a course to begin with.

To reduce overall out-of-pocket costs, SUNY Poly says its school-branded book store will “offer students a competitive marketplace for course content purchasing.” Students will be able to use the school’s currency – “Wildcat Dollars” – and their student accounts to purchase items at the store. SUNY Poly said the store will “expand access to a wide range of low-cost course materials, including digital and hard copy versions of required texts.”

“As colleges continue to seek new and creative approaches to enhance value and improve the student experience, optimizing the use of physical space and digital and on-campus resources represents one of the most effective ways to not just improve the student experience, but ultimately control costs,” said Raj Kaji, CEO of Akademos. “The launch of this forward-facing approach to course materials and textbooks is reflective of SUNY Poly’s commitment to driving value, affordability, and a high-quality educational experience for its students.”

The bookstore will launch ahead of the fall 2021 semester and will operate in parallel with an on-campus store for merchandise and apparel.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs