Harvard Bookstore Ends Policy Giving Discounts to Faculty

The Harvard Bookstore has ended its 40-year policy of giving College faculty members a ten per cent discount because of "economic pressures," Thomas S. Hart, manager of the store, said yesterday.

Mandrake's Books is now the only bookshop in the Harvard Square area offering discounts to teaching academics on a limited basis.

Jeffrey Kramer, owner of the Harvard Bookstore, said that the move was a "necessary but regrettable" one.

"We want to continue the kind of service we have given to the community at Harvard, service which includes a specialized inventory, and a larger staff than most bookstores have," Kramer said.

"When I took over the store, the discount was a sort of unadvertised special which faculty members who knew about it would take advantage of. For a while, I tried to standardize the policy, that is, to encourage our counter personnel to ask if someone was a faculty member, and then extend the discount to him," he said.


"But finally it came down to a question of standardize or eliminate. And when I took a look at our economic situation, I decided the discount had to be ended," he added.

"We were feeling pressure from both ends," Hart said yesterday.

"Harvard Bookstore offers many books of a specialized nature. But these books are sold to us by the distributor at what is called a 'short discount' on only 20 per cent. That gives us a smaller profit margin to begin with than most bookstores. We found that we couldn't keep it up, and so the discount had to go," he said.

Other moves by publishers--deletion of books that had been offered at the normal mark-up rate, or moving books onto the "short discount" list-- contributed to the decision to end discounts.

"Nobody is pleased with the change, especially those who have relied on our store for special texts, and those who have enjoyed the discount for the long time it's been around," Hart said.

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