T.I.S. Bookstore stops selling books, rebrands to Illini Shop


Lily Katz

T.I.S. — the former bookstore — is now The Illini Shop in Champaign. Because of this change, the Illini Union Bookstore is now the sole bookstore on campus.

By Megan Jones, Staff Writer

Students may face longer lines and wait times this year when buying books for classes. The University-owned Illini Union Bookstore is the sole location for students to purchase textbooks, as the T.I.S. College Bookstore no longer carries textbooks.

The former bookstore was remodeled over the summer and transitioned into The Illini Shop Campustown, said Jon Tichenor, operations manager, in a statement.

A line wrapped around the Illini Union Bookstore Monday, the first day of class, as students gathered at the only remaining textbook shop on campus. Many students said they had never seen as many people try to get in at once.

Kelly Zhagui, senior in LAS, said she typically buys books from the Illini Union Bookstore and did not realize T.I.S. was closed.

“I actually saw the line shorter last year,” she said. “It’s never gone around the whole store like this.”

Textbooks sales cycle and shift for many reasons Kevin Theile, a T.I.S. representative, said. Consumer buying trends such as students ordering books online from sites like Amazon, sharing books or not purchasing books altogether, can also have an effect on textbook sales, he said.

While he said T.I.S. has not experienced all those factors at the University, it no longer made financial sense to carry textbooks. But the store will stay open to sell collegiate apparel and merchandise.

“T.I.S. College Bookstore loved serving U of I student textbook needs and we were privileged to do so for 25 years,” Theile said. “We strived to serve our customers well, paying close attention to students, parents, faculty and staff alike.”

T.I.S. Bookstore, located at 707 S. Sixth Street, also has an Illini Shop at the Marketplace Mall in Champaign. And it is not the first bookstore to turn to general merchandising. Follett’s Bookstore, which opened in 1938, stopped selling textbooks in 2010 and later closed in 2013.

T.I.S. - former bookstore - is now The Illini Shop and unabashedly advertises their current sale in Champaign, IL. August 22, 2016.
Lily Katz
The Illini Shop (formerly T.I.S.)  advertises their current sale in Champaign on Monday.

In a previous interview with The Daily Illini in 2013, T.I.S. Store Manager Brian Paragi said the store has felt pressure from competition in book sales over the years, specifically with online retailers affecting them the most. Due to the pressure, T.I.S. scaled down the size of its store location from two floors to one.

“T.I.S. has long enjoyed being part of the Champaign-Urbana town and retail community and we look forward to continuing business in this same spirit but with a different product mix and even larger Illini fan focus,” said CEO Tim Tichenor in a statement.

Some professors create course packets for purchase at Notes and Quotes, a store on John Street, but the Illini Union Bookstore is the only shop for physical copies of books in Campustown.

Mitch Foster, sophomore in AHS, said he thinks the Illini Union Bookstore is a fine bookstore other than the long lines.

“Obviously having one bookstore on campus would affect business,” he said. “It’d be nice to have another, but I feel like this rush is just a one-time thing. It’s not a big deal for me.”

Jennifer Disalvo, freshman in LAS, said she has gone to the bookstore multiple days and Monday had the longest lines.

“Even downstairs there’s just not that many people at the counter,” she said. “And they got calls so they have to take that, but I guess they’re doing it the best they can, especially with the other one closing.”

Immediate attempts to reach the director of the Illini Union Bookstore were unsuccessful.

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Aaron Navarro contributed to this report.