Home > Uncategorized > Tyndale University and Seminary Bookstore Closing

Tyndale University and Seminary Bookstore Closing

Students and staff at Tyndale University and Tyndale Seminary in Toronto received notice on Wednesday (3/16) that their campus bookstore is closing.

As has been the case with many Christian bookstores, Tyndale has experienced challenges generating sufficient revenue to cover its expenses. Sales have been trending downward for several years, as a result of competition from megabrands such as Amazon and lower demand for Christian resources. Consequently, it is no longer economically feasible to continue to operate the Campus Store on our own. Cabinet has made the decision to close the store.

Effective July 1, 2022 these services are going to be outsourced to Cornerstone Bookshop. Located just 10 minutes away at 89 Finch Ave. W., Cornerstone Bookshop is an established Christian bookstore that has the ability to also serve the Tyndale community.

However, the notion that Cornerstone is “10 minutes away” is optimistic, even for people with vehicles available. Without private transportation, it’s a ten minute bus ride, followed by a transfer to the subway for a five minute ride (if there are no delays) followed by a five minute walk.

The letter continues,

By transitioning these services to a partner who is successful on their own, and who will be strengthened further by adding Tyndale’s customer base, both Tyndale and Cornerstone Bookshop will benefit by this change.

The Tyndale community will be able to shop in their store or place orders online and have items drop shipped to Tyndale at no additional cost. Cornerstone will have a dedicated webpage for textbooks beginning with the Fall 2022 semester. Information regarding how to order textbooks and other items, such as Tyndale-branded merchandise, will be sent to you at a later time.

Back in October, 2021, we shared with you how Redeemer University in Hamilton was moving in the opposite direction; renovating and re-branding their store. You can read that article, with a picture of the striking new exterior, by clicking here.

We first profiled Cornerstone back in 2013. Altogether, they’ve been open for about 16 years. The store packs a lot of merchandise into a small space, and there is an excellent overview in the header photo on their website landing page.

The textbook market is quite different from the trade book market. Between considerably higher list prices and shorter — often much shorter — discounts, stores which are conscious of their bottom line and ROI would not want to tip the scales too far in the direction of servicing this market. And unsold inventory can be most unforgiving if you have stock of the third edition of a book like How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth and professors are demanding that students work from the fourth edition, or if a professor updates their textbook list for a popular course altogether.

One would hope that students picking up texts would browse the store and perhaps pick up some regular merchandise as gifts for friends and family, but if the plan is to provide a drop-service to the school, that type of browsing won’t happen.

The other thing a store — any store — needs to watch when getting involved in textbook sales is that it involves dealing with a host of suppliers — U. of T. Press Distribution and Wiley come to mind — that many Christian bookstores are able to comfortably live without using. Increasingly some, such as Oxford University Press, are charging freight costs on shipments which were previously exempt, and the marginal cost of shipping increases with smaller orders. If there are 40 students in the class, how many copies can be assumed to be purchased through a college or university’s own textbook outlet? Additionally, how long do you keep some students waiting to see if any further orders develop?

Textbook buying is both an art and a science, something that stores like the bookstore at Regent College in Vancouver have had years of experience learning; and Tyndale possessed that knowledge as well. Hopefully the entirety of Tyndale’s expertise can be passed on to the new textbook stewards at Cornerstone.

Photos: Tyndale University, Cornerstone file photo

Categories: Uncategorized
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