New-look Penn Bookstore offers bolstered features, increased services

The Penn Bookstore has a new look, and is offering patrons an increased array of consumer options and customer care.

In mid-August, the Bookstore unveiled its latest renovations, complete with bolstered features, additional services, and a broader selection of Penn merchandise. Perhaps the biggest change is the replacement of the second floor CD and DVD section with the Computer Connection store and the PennCard Center.

“We’ve had a transition to electronic media, a change in textbooks and how course materials are presented, and frankly, how students make purchases,” says Marie Witt, vice president for the Business Services Division. “The demand for CDs and DVDs and that entire section of the Bookstore has migrated to digital formats.”

Witt says those trends are allowing Business Services to “do something very different” with the space.

Formerly housed in the Franklin Building, the relocated PennCard Center has expanded its offerings to include notary services, passport photos, professional portraits, and for the first time, PennKey information for new faculty, staff, and students. The Center’s new hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Computer Connection, previously on the first floor of the Bookstore, is also adopting new hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

“With Computer Connection, we’ve changed the proportion of the layout to allocate much more product display areas and to present many more systems for hands-on experiences,” says Christopher Bradie, associate vice president for the BSD.

To accommodate the 100-plus author events the Bookstore hosts per year, the renovations also brought the addition of an enclosed, AV-equipped events room adjacent to the café, which will also serve as a study area equipped with ample seating and power outlets with USB ports.

Longstanding Bookstore features have also been given an added boost. The space now features an amplified Wi-Fi signal, an expanded grab-and-go section in the café, more academic and trade book titles and magazines, and the largest Penn merchandise section in the Bookstore’s history.

“The fact that we have space to expand the assortment of socially responsible merchandise from Alta Gracia Apparel was a welcome benefit from the new store layout,” Witt says.

Along with Penn community survey feedback, Bradie says the Bookstore’s three-part mission guided the store’s renovations.

“We want to be a place for course materials, promote brand identity with spirit merchandise, and be a place for the community,” he says. “By focusing on that mission, I think we were able to incorporate better design while providing things we heard from the Penn community that were really important to them.”

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