With the beginning of its fourth year of operation, Wheelock Books continues to be a growing force in the textbook market for Dartmouth students.
Billed as a cheaper alternative to the Dartmouth Bookstore, the store was founded by Whit Spaulding ’89 and Matt Holleran ’89.
According to Spaulding, Wheelock Books was started in response to the negative experiences he and Holleran went through trying to obtain books as students.
“Little things the students need we provide in a personal way … because we have all been there,” Spaulding said.
“We started [charge accounts] this fall so people can bill to their parents or to their Hinman boxes, for a lot of students it was the last barrier to coming to shop,” he said.
Now, Spaulding said the store is alive and well.
“We’re way past the kind of growth I ever expected,” he said.
Wheelock Books typically provides books for 270 to 300 classes a term.
The Dartmouth Bookstore provides books for more than 400 classes each term.
The Dartmouth Bookstore “initially saw a decline in sales [when Wheelock opened] but they were slight,” said Ed Leavitt, Dartmouth Bookstore’s text book department manager.
“Over the last year the economy has picked up a little and so have sales. We have seen an increase of two to three percent,” he said.
The Dean of the Faculty’s office does not endorse either store, Assistant Dean of the Faculty Sheila Culbert said. Professors can choose which store from which to order books.
“People are used to ordering from the Dartmouth Bookstore … and you have to go that extra step to order from Wheelock, but to my understanding people seem willing to do that,” Culbert said.
Professors order books via electronic mail for Wheelock Books and by a written agreement from Dartmouth Bookstore.
According to Leavitt, “95 percent of professors will still automatically bring their orders to us, [but] it is a fair trade market.”
Some professors will order from both stores.
“We try to work with one another … to insure enough books are ordered,” Leavitt said.
Both stores offer used books, buy back options and are willing to place rush orders at no extra charge.
Spaulding is very optimistic for the future of Wheelock Books and says they will stay in business as long as they continue to grow.
Spaulding said he could not release any financial figures, and declined to say how much the business has grown in four years.