Sustainable Business at the College Town Barnes and Noble

The University of Rochester Barnes and Noble at College Town is on a sustainable mission to repurpose and recycle used books. The textbook buyback program offers up to 50% of the selling price for used books, and once the store has purchased enough books to fill a professor’s order, books are recycled into the national market for the current market price.

The books that are not recirculated or sent to other buyers after this step are then shipped to Missouri Book Services, a company that specializes in buying and selling used books. Textbooks with no resale value are then shipped to Better World Books, a company that promotes literacy through donating books to schools and libraries around the world. Any book that cannot be donated is recycled, and no book is ever thrown away. Better World Books also offers carbon-balanced shipping, an initiative where they support renewable energy to balance out carbon emissions from the shipping process.

The University Barnes and Noble ships old textbooks freight, which, according to the general manager Frank Tallarico, is more environmentally-friendly and cost effective than shipping via a truck or plane. The store also produces very little waste by reusing packaging- every cardboard box and square of bubble wrap is reused. All these initiatives are sustainable business practices that University students and faculty can feel good supporting.

By Isabel Lieberman, Class of 2021