University Book Shop manager Phillippa Duffy stands in an empty upstairs space the shop is looking to rent out. Photo by Craig Baxter.
More change is on the cards at Dunedin's University Book Shop
(UBS), with a plan to rent out the upstairs of the building.
The plan comes as book shops worldwide continue to face
declining sales and the growth of e-books and online sales.
Book shop manager Phillippa Duffy said it was ''likely'' an
option to consolidate the Great King St store on the ground
floor and rent out the upstairs would go ahead.
This would mean either an end to its long-running ''non-stop
sale'' or moving it to a potentially expanded downstairs shop
''There is no plan to make the book shop smaller,'' Ms Duffy
An architect had been hired ''to see what's possible'' with
the about 540sq m upstairs space, which included a large area
where textbooks used to be sold.
''We want to progress things quite quickly, but we don't have
enough information yet to [give a date].''
The plan would involve ''significant'' costs to bring the
upstairs floor up to commercial standard, which meant it was
likely, for the second consecutive year, no dividend would be
paid to the Otago University Students' Association (OUSA),
which owns the shop.
By renting out the upper floor the shop could increase the
dividends it paid to the OUSA and possibly invest in other
areas of its business, including a digital strategy.
The plans come after previous changes at the shop, including
restructuring last year which resulted in the number of
full-time equivalent positions being reduced from 19 to 13.
The shop had also opened and then extended a branch on the
University of Otago campus and opened a children's room at
its Great King St site.
It had recently attended the New Zealand Book Sellers
conference where it was one of three finalists in the South
Island independent book shop of the year.
''I think that's a real vote of confidence from the industry
that we are doing the right things.''
OUSA general manager Darel Hall, when speaking about the
association's financial returns for last year, said it had
been happy to forgo a dividend ''to contribute in the
investment in the book shop''.
''It's fair to say that we are very positive about the
changes being made, both from the services provided to
students and in terms of future returns.''
In 2012 OUSA received a dividend of $50,000 from the UBS.