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Monday, March 04, 2024

Orange and Blue Textbooks banned from advertising on SFC campus

Officials from Orange and Blue Textbooks and SFC are debating students' rights to know their textbook options in Gainesville.

SFC's textbook contract with Barnes & Noble prohibits OBT from advertising in the school paper or handing out fliers and coupons to students on their way to class.

The store, located at 309 NW 13th St., began providing books to SFC students in 2007.

"I can't tell if it's a school campus or a police state," said Kenneth Roberts, president of OBT, who said he was told his flier distributors would be arrested next time.

Larry Keen, assistant to the president at SFC, said all commercial solicitors are prohibited at the college unless contracted through the school - a "collegewide policy written in black and white."

The school holds an exclusive contract with Barnes & Noble, Keen said. Any textbook vendor was allowed to make a bid on the contract with the college's bookstore, he said, and contracts usually last three years.

"It's unfair," said Jorelle Bobbitt, director of OBT campus relations. "Students are not getting their right to have options."

But Keen said the contract does not infringe on that right.

"Students have the right to go elsewhere for textbooks," he said.

OBT representatives don't see it that way. Bobbitt said she doesn't understand why fliers can be distributed at UF and not SFC.

"Barnes & Noble is wanting a monopoly, and the Santa Fe administration seems to be catering to that," Bobbitt said.

Roberts said the bookstore has recently been unable to receive course schedules, book lists and other assistance from Santa Fe faculty and staff.

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One of SFC's attorneys also requested that an OBT television commercial be taken off the air because it contained footage of the school's campus, Bobbitt said.

Roberts said he is considering legal action.

"A level playing field is all we want," he said, "which is what is supposed to be there."

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