Editorial: Privatized UK Bookstore could harm Kennedy’s


Freshman business major, Jesse Hart, and Sophomore marketing major, Sarah Miller, browse the new school supply section in Kennedy’s Bookstore in Lexington, Ky. on Tuesday, April 27, 2013.

Kennedy’s bookstore is facing a new financial threat from the UK Bookstore. In its second semester as operator of the campus bookstore, Barnes and Noble is instituting a price matching policy which will lower the cost of many of its textbooks.

Over the break, the UK Bookstore sent emails announcing its new policy of price matching new, used and rental books currently offered by the online retailers of Amazon, Chegg and Barnes and Noble.

“The price match program is just the latest initiative in our efforts to ensure UK students have access to the most affordable course materials to ensure academic success,” UK Bookstore General Manager Dave Lang said.

The new policy will likely attract more students to shop at the UK Bookstore, which is tucked behind Memorial Coliseum on Lexington Avenue. However, this may negatively impact the sales of online retailers and Kennedy’s Wildcat Den, a local store offering UK apparel, supplies and textbooks.

As a family-owned business and historical member of the community, Kennedy’s has supplied the UK area for more than 60 years. The store is especially useful because it accepts payments from the UK Plus Account, and financial aid awards.

“Joe Kennedy started this store in 1950 to compete with the UK Bookstore and offer the students a choice, with lower prices,” said Carol Behr, general manager of Kennedy’s.

But the trend of corporatization of university bookstores has proved to be potentially disastrous for local competitors.

According to Behr, University Book and Supply, a bookstore near EKU (owned and operated by the Kennedy family), closed last year due to declining profits. The Barnes and Noble operated bookstore at EKU outcompeted UBS, although the situation was a bit different. EKU withheld the ability for students to use their financial aid at UBS; UK has not done the same for Kennedy’s.

Regardless, we have to make sure the same result of corporatization in Richmond does not happen to Kennedy’s here in Lexington. Kennedy’s needs to prosper because of their good reputation for providing all the textbooks students need at reasonable prices.

“Kennedy’s usually has all the books, and the bookstore sometimes doesn’t have all the books I need so I usually go to Kennedy’s,” said Thomas Neuteufel, an economics sophomore.

Without Kennedy’s, students who do not shop online must accept prices at the UK Bookstore, regardless of price matching or new versus used.

Ultimately, Kennedy’s is a part of the UK community, and students would suffer if this friendly competition between Kennedy’s and the UK Bookstore were to disappear.

[email protected]