The short term bookshop at Exeter University has closed down yet again for a summer break. It is unclear what will be in place for the new academic year starting in the autumn. There have been other cases of closing bookshops as online alternatives develop. What is unusual in this situation is the university policy to demolish the original Blackwells shop and then not to allow space for a replacement in the new Forum.
The new Forum space is a central feature for the campus. Comment in Exepose, the student newspaper, has comared it to a shopping mall or departure lounge at an airport. A bookshop may appear too dated to fit the style. There was a similar issue in Princesshay, a shopping mall in the centre of Exeter. After a rebuild the Post Office was moved to an upstairs space and no postbox was provided. After protests a postbox was allowed inside the Post Office space. It was not thought suitable for a modern street design.
Blackwells insist that the bookshop is viable and they with welcome a permanent site. So far there have been "pop-ups" at the beginning of the academic year with a selection of course books. The site just closed was on the top floor of Devonshire House, a building now mostly used by the Student Guild and hidden by the new structure. It has survived over two terms and has some stock outside the course requirements. The space is now needed for a student study area, a combination of relaxation and wifi.
Over the summer the bookshop will be a desk in the Forum retail area with a screen showing the Blackwells website. Based on conversations with sources that cannot currently be identified, it appears there may be a permanent site in the future, but located far away from the Forum. It could still be viable if the location became better known.
The move of books to digital formats is not as sudden as sometimes appears. There are complex issues but developments ae not just in one direction. A longterm bookshop site on a university campus may not be news in most cases, but if it happens there will be interest in Exeter where demolishing the previous bookshop is estimated to have cost £124 m.
note for editors
I'm actually on holiday at this time and don't know what is happening. End of April was the deadline to quit previous site so I guess there is some info on what happens next. Words above will be re arranged on next hard fact.