In the past, UW-Parkside students and professors have had trouble with the bookstore, but this year has been the most troublesome yet. With a plethora of books unavailable for classes, the first six weeks of the semester have been spent with students frantically trying to order the textbooks needed for their classes. The answer to this dilemma is simple: NBC Acquisition Corporation, which is the parent company of the Nebraska Book Company, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this summer in what was said to be a move to recapitalize its debt. When NBC took out a large loan, its publishers became concerned, since the company had not reached a refinancing agreement without filing for Chapter 11.
NBC reached a Restructuring and Support agreement with its lenders, planning to remove $150 million from their balance sheet, while paying general creditors in full. It was practically forced to seek bankruptcy after years of declining profit. Altogether, the trade debt for the unsecured creditors equated to a little over $10 million dollars. Throughout all of this, however, NBC does not expect its general course of business to be impacted, if at all.
In fact, the company expects to be done with its bankruptcy sometime by the end of November, though it may take longer. Ron Beesley, the new assistant manager at our own bookstore and UW-Parkside alumnus, said that a small amount of companies would not work with Nebraska Book Company as long as the company was in debt. Fortunately, it’s only a very small amount. However, a larger amount of companies will not work with Neebo using credit and demand to be prepaid. On the whole, business is working almost as normal. Unfortunately, some students and professors had book orders canceled because of this, even ones that were made months in advance.
Overall, the public’s interest seems to be waning for bookstore purchases and many are turning to E-books as a cheaper alternative. Beesley is currently looking at E-books as alternates to textbooks. Some people even view bookstores as a soon-to-be obsolete service thanks to the unfortunate expensive costs and low return rates. Others are still optimistic about what seems to be a change of business strategy for Neebo, though.
However, Nebraska Book Company is optimistic about their future. They launched a new business strategy where it is possible to “rent-every-book” and seems to be doing well. Nebraska Book Company has expanded their general merchandise selection and they plan to increase the market for their online tools.
Of all things, Nebraska Book Store wants to assure its customers that the new changes will not ruin the business and there is no need to be nervous.