TEXTBOOK CASE Manny Cunard, director of the Brown University bookstore, haunting the aisles. (John Tlumacki/Globe Staff) TEXTBOOK CASE Manny Cunard, director of the Brown University bookstore, haunting the aisles.

The Bear Necessities

What Brown students want, from textbooks to sweat shirts, and the benefits of being independent.

By Courtney Hollands
October 5, 2008
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It must be busy running the bookstore with all the students back on campus.
It's pretty intense. Every summer is renewing and re-energizing. Come mid-August, we don't stop.

Do you sell many used books?
That's our number one priority. We offer as many used textbooks as we can. We can't get enough. We have a big buyback, and we even work with three different used-book companies to fill the gap. About 35 percent of the textbooks we sell are used. Every used book we can get is on the shelves.

Your bookstore is independent, and many area college bookstores are not. What's the difference?
We have a certain connection with the local community that you can't get with a big-box store. Our decisions aren't made at the corporate level; they are driven by the community.

You have a book delivery van. Students must be lining up to have their textbooks delivered.
We have lots of seniors that use the service. We have a brightly colored delivery van that everyone knows. [But] we don't deliver to the residence halls.

What Brown-themed products do you sell?
We don't have anything crazy. We have lots of bears. Actually, this year we got two mannequins - a male and a female. We change their outfits every day and put them in different places in the store. Sometimes they have an argument and we sit them apart from each other.

Any high jinks so far?
Well, it's been busy in the store, and a woman bumped into the female mannequin - hard. Her head actually broke off , so we had to perform surgery.

Sweat shirts: Hood or no hood?
I'm not a hood person. I've never asked myself why before. Our hoodie sales far outweigh our non-hooded sweat shirt sales, though. Hoods have multiple uses, I guess - you can cover your head, keep yourself warm, and hide.

BROWN UNIVERSITY BOOKSTORE 244 Thayer Street, Providence, 401-863-3168,

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