By Hannah Mamont
Slug Books Co-op has announced that it will close its doors at the end of the quarter, and students engaged in the endless search for affordable textbooks will have one less alternative to the Baytree Bookstore.Standing quaintly beside the Santa Cruz Hillel and the 7-11 near the base of campus, the student-run and student-owned bookstore has been serving UC Santa Cruz for the last 10 years. Many students and faculty did not expect the closure."I was shocked," said Ren Daasnes, a second-year student from Oakes and a former employee of Slug Books. She was informed of the closing through a short email sent to employees. "I wasn’t under the impression that it was in any trouble."Slug Books posted an announcement about the closing on its website, informing customers that Nov. 22 would be the store’s last day open. Representatives from Slug Books declined to comment about the reasons for the store’s closing, but Daasnes speculated that the bookstore may have been in financial trouble.The co-op is not the only alternative textbook source in Santa Cruz. The Literary Guillotine, located just off Pacific Avenue, orders textbooks for professors looking to support local business."Faculty are unhappy with the campus bookstore," said David Watson, owner of the Literary Guillotine. "Baytree had a monopoly and people got frustrated with its high prices. Competition made it function better."In addition to managing the Guillotine, Watson helped fund Slug Books when it first started operations in 1995.
"When Slug Books opened, I thought it was a great thing, because Baytree was… a terrible bookstore." Watson said. "In some ways, Slug Books wasn’t good either, but at least they were providing a service to students. Their hearts were in the right place."Watson expects that, in Slug Books’ absence, some former patrons will choose the convenience of the Baytree Bookstore over off-campus stores like the Guillotine.But for some faculty, keeping alternatives in business is important.Mark Baker, a lecturer in the Writing Department who has been ordering books for his students from Slug Books for over seven years, thinks the closure will be helpful for other independent bookstores. "It can only help other off-campus bookstores," Baker said. "They’ll get more business and be more mindful of the types of problems that Slug Books ran into."While some students loathed the long lines and cramped space at Slug Books, Daasnes pointed out that many other schools, like Cabrillo College, have no alternatives, other than online sellers, to their own campus bookstore."For me, it wasn’t a source of income, but it was a source of pride," Daasnes said of her time working for Slug Books. "It’s great when students rally together and help each other out."