MTSU selects Follett to manage Phillips Bookstore

MTSU selects Follett to manage Phillips Bookstore

Follett Higher Education Group of Oak Brook, Ill., has been selected to manage operations of MTSU’s Phillips Bookstore, which will relocate to the new Student Union Building this summer. The takeover is effective May 9.

John Cothern, MTSU senior vice president in the Division of Business and Finance, and Kathy Crisp, assistant vice president for administrative and business, made the announcement.

A selection committee consisting of administrators, faculty and students chose Follett through an extensive evaluation process. Follett was identified as the company that had the technology, experience and resources to best serve MTSU and the campus community.

“Many changes have and are taking place in the college-textbook and bookstore service industry,” Cothern said. “It is important for MTSU to be in the best position it can be in order to provide the most up-to-date textbook and course materials service that our students demand and need.

We are pleased that Follett Higher Education Group is joining our team,” Cothern added. “They bring an expertise to our campus that will enable us to enhance the level of bookstore service and support needed by our students as they prepare for their professional careers. This change is part of our continued efforts to position MTSU for the future.”

Follett aims to provide first-class service to MTSU students, faculty and staff by offering a variety of affordable choices and maximizing access to the materials and supplies necessary for student success, said Elio DiStaolo, director of public and campus relations for Follett.

In addition to Rent-A-Text, a textbook-rental program that can save students 50 percent or more compared to the costs of buying new textbooks, Follett also offers smarter digital textbooks with their cloud-based CafeScribe digital platform.

The campus community can explore those options in-store and online through a link on MTSU’s website to, the nation’s largest textbook portal.

University officials said students, faculty, staff and visitors to the new Phillips Bookstore can rely on a bookstore team of familiar faces to help navigate these options. Jeff Whitwell will remain director and textbook manager.

To ensure a seamless transition, all current Phillips Bookstore associates have been invited to remain and will receive additional training and development opportunities to enhance their retail and customer-service skills.

During the transition, Phillips Bookstore will be moving to the first floor of the new Student Union building after decades in Keathley University Center.

The new store layout accommodates space for expanded products and services.

The new location also positions the bookstore near other central campus resources, including dining areas, retail outlets and meeting rooms.

“We are excited to be serving Middle Tennessee State University,” said Thomas Christopher, president of Follett Higher Education Group. “We’ll bring our best to the community—using all of our resources, best-in-class technology and our newest product offerings to provide a retail operation that will only enhance the MTSU campus.”

— Randy Weiler (