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Blackwell's to open at Queen's University
24.07.12 | Lisa Campbell
Blackwell’s has partnered with Queens University Belfast to create a Connect bookshop presence after the previous bookseller closed down after 53 years.
Blackwell’s will work with Queen's in relation to university's student experience bursary scheme to operate a cashless system to provide books in a temporary pop-up shop, which Blackwell's calls a "connect site", on campus for several weeks of the year. The coup now brings the number of higher education areas served by Blackwell’s to 57, after the company also recently secured a shop at the University of Northumbria.
Blackwell’s managing director David Prescott said the recent increase in its estate was part of an ongoing initiative to service new higher education areas where the right opportunities arose. Darrell Thrush-Denning, area manager for Scotland and Newcastle, will oversee the running of the Belfast facility, with Julie Gamble based onsite initially to help implement the new arrangements.
Last June, The Bookseller reported the bookshop at Queen’s on University Road in Belfast would have to close after 53 years of trading, due to declining sales blamed on competition from the internet. At the time, Tim Smyth, manager of the bookshop, said: “We have always been above the line but next year we will fall below the line. I don’t know how we (independent booksellers) can do it anymore. Certainly the academic model has reached a tipping point now, it is unsustainable.”
However, Thrush-Denning, who also won manager of the year at this year's Bookseller Industry Awards, was optimistic about the prospect. “I think it is absolutely fantastic. It just goes to show the forward thinking of Blackwell’s on seizing opportunities with both hands,” he said.