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Posted on Tue, Jun 28, 2011 : 3:58 p.m.

Company with 5 college bookstores in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti files for bankruptcy

By Nathan Bomey

The parent company of five of the largest college bookstores in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday.

NBC Acquisition Corp.'s Nebraska Book Co. filed for bankruptcy in a bid to restructure $450 million in debt and reemerge as a financially lean company.

The firm owns Campus Book Supply, Mike's Bookstore and Ned's Bookstore near Eastern Michigan University's campus in Ypsilanti and Ulrich's Bookstore and Michigan Book and Supply near the University of Michigan's campus in Ann Arbor.

The company, which has about 280 stores and some 2,500 workers, said it would continue to operate its stores and that the filing would have little impact on customers or workers.

“This agreement solves balance sheet issues we have been addressing for months, and we are clearing a path toward continued growth, company president Barry Major said in a statement. “It will remain business as usual, and we will continue to move forward armed with a number of great strategies that will continue to make us a market force."

The move comes four months after Ann Arbor-based bookstore chain Borders Group Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Borders has until Friday to submit the name of a possible acquirer — likely to be a private equity firm.

Contact's Nathan Bomey at (734) 623-2587 or You can also follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's newsletters.



Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 11:19 a.m.

when i went to EMU and MSU 64-69 textbooks were outrageously priced so it's nothing new.yes it costs much more now than it did then but so does everything else. That's the way it is 02/01/2012.


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 2:14 p.m.

Unbelievable. I'd have thought they'd be able to survive on the money they got out of me during my 7 years of schooling.


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 4:01 a.m.

Text books are a scam in the 21st century. With very few exceptions the teacher, professor, lecturer or whoever should, as a part of their duties, write and compile what text or media they deem necessary to teach a course. After appropriate review by faculty and administration the text should be made into a pdf document for the student's use. The students can save it on their digital devices or print it out as they deem most helpful. It can be password protected, copyrighted and etc. too if need be. This scam of making students pay big money for dead tree edition books is an obsolete scam and unnecessary. Get rid of the whole thing.


Thu, Jun 30, 2011 : 5:21 p.m.

@Edward R Murrow's Ghost So I'm trying to decide if you are serious or being sarcastic. If sarcasm was your aim then let me assure you that there was more to the class than copying down notes...but what difference is there between reading the information for the class from a print out or from a book? My point was simply that everything in the tests were taught in the class...there wasn't extra information that we had to read and never have discussed. I appreciated that because if the point was to read the books and take tests then why take the classes at all? Just read the books and teach yourself. I just thought some clarifying might be in order.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 5:50 p.m.

ricebrnr: Sorry. My Bad! I should have noted. Good Night and Good Luck


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 5:25 p.m.

@ Huron74 "Dead tree publishers aren't an "enemy" in the sense you seem to imply I said" is the opposite of "Text books are a scam in the 21st century". I've not implied anything. You keep stating I am some sort of agent for the publishing industry. I am not advocating for print text, I have only pointed out that your cheaper/easier solutions are not necessarily for everyone nor are they fully developed and one for one swaps with currently available electronic options. You are the one who chose to be adversarial about it. "You sound like a spokesman/apologist for the text book industry."


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 5:20 p.m.

Riceburner Dead tree publishers aren't an "enemy" in the sense you seem to imply I said. They're just a casualty of modernity. We don't need ink wells, slate black board and copy books anymore either. Those things had their time and place but there is just no need for them in education any longer. Their business model of exploiting the monopoly they have in small niche market was a nice gig (for them) while it lasted but we can and should do this cheaper and better now. Too bad for them but that's the way the cookie crumbles.


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 5:16 p.m.

ERGM my response was to Huron74 not to you. We were both commenting at the same time, if i had known I would have called it out. I will endevour to do so everytime in the future.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 5:11 p.m.

Ricebrnr: Nothing in your links says anything about classes that consist of copying material from ppt presentations and then regurgitating that material on exams. If that is the core of any class, its students ought demand refunds. But since the easy "A" is preferable to the hard work of actual learning, I'm not holding my breath waiting for that to happen. Good Night and Good Luck


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 5:07 p.m.

IF you open your mind a little rather than taking an uninformed stance... <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 5 p.m.

@obviouscomment: That sounds like an incredibly rigorous and challenging class. No wonder a college/university education today has the heft in the workplace that a high school education had 40 years ago. Good Night and Good Luck


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 4:15 p.m.

Ipad and it's os cannot render a secured PDF for example... I know I know, why secure it then? just let the students share them like music files, right? Publishers are the new bogeyman (like pharma) and shouldn't be allowed to make any money. Some might have desktops but not all have laptops. If they don't and need to access the text in class? Guess they'll just have to share.. Not apologizing for anything, just showing the flip side of the coin. Your's is not the only or correct point of view


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 2:41 p.m.

Riceburner, Colleges and universities all have computer labs now. Many require a computer to be purchased as well. The niggling issues with compatibility? I've yet to see an OS that can't render a PDF file. As I said in the post students can print all or part of it if they wish. You sound like a spokesman/apologist for the text book industry. Put the problem back on the university instructors by making them responsible for providing the text themselves. If the profs have to write their own stuff they'll be far less payola, kick-backs, wining &amp; dining and the rest of the under the table bribery of profs and administrators to chose a particular textbook. Additionally the texts will likely be more to the point and briefer since they have to write themselves. How I see it.


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 11:51 a.m.

I had teachers that sort of did that. They had &quot;Power-point lectures&quot; that they would print out or display and we could take notes. Then the tests were based completely off of the information they gave you. I passed classes with As and Bs without ever cracking a book...I suggest that students wait until they go to their first day of class or receive a syllabus before they purchase books. Oftentimes they may not need to waste the money.


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 8:02 a.m.

A nice idea that doesn't take into account platform compatibility, the student's ability to afford a laptop or other device to read said document on, let alone there ability to access it in a classroom. Sometimes a printed text is easier and necessary. Not to mention you'd still have to pay the publishers for their content. There is certainly some savings but not as much as you'd think. That being said there are multiple options these days to try and save students some money. One such option is even a local company. Check out Xanedu Publishing.


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 1:03 a.m.

Why should the Calculus or Physics 140 book change every year? Has Calc really been advancing? The UM Math Department could use the same book for years and years allowing students the opportunity to purchase used books but instead the book editions keep changing. This artificial &quot;churn&quot; is costing students thousands of dollars. I call SHENANIGANS on all involved.


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 1:23 a.m.

Calculus hasn't changed but, for better or worse, the teaching of it does change over the years. A student today will be using software as part of their classwork, most likely, so the textbook will probably want to include that. Incoming faculty often decide to change to more &quot;modern&quot; texts, if only out of personal taste. And textbooks have to be updated to remove dated references and even language that was once appropriate that is now deemed offensive. (Yes, even in math books! I used to teach calculus and my department had previously used a standard word problem that asked something about the velocity of a young man swimming along the shore when he spots a pretty girl in a bikini on the beach. When I was there it was decided that was sexist and we couldn't use the problem in class any more.) If you want to say these changes do nothing to improve calculus education and that people learned the subject for generations without computers, well, I won't disagree with you. But forces like them compel most textbooks to change more than you might think they naturally would.


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 12:14 a.m.

If textbook pricing is truly a &quot;scam,&quot; then you'd think the publishers would be massively profitable, which they aren't. Textbooks cost a lot of money primarily because they sell a relatively small number of each edition. Your intro calculus book doesn't sell like Harry Potter. And your advanced metallurgy book does even worse. Supply and demand.


Tue, Jun 28, 2011 : 11:51 p.m.

So someone please share the facts on the textbook scam that has so many enraged here. I see many comments as if in the know. So tell us the factual story so we can draw our own conclusions.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 12:42 a.m.

See my post above. That is EXACTLY what is going on. Good Night and Good Luck

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Tue, Jun 28, 2011 : 11:26 p.m.

Far be it for me to defend a business, but bookstores are not the primary cause of the textbook ripoff machine. Textbooks are outrageously priced by the publishers and, in many fields (e.g., history), new editions come out every three to four years even though nothing has changed in that field. The publisher then quickly buys up books on the used market so that it is virtually impossible to use anything but the newer (and more expensive) version of a textbook that is virtually unchanged from its predecessor.. Good Night and Good Luck


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 11:50 p.m.

Agreed, no dispute there

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 10:41 p.m.

Rice: Publishers then do all they can to removed used texts from the market. Within months of the release of a new edition it is virtually impossible to put your hands on older versions except in &quot;onesies and twosies&quot; through and the like. Good Night and Good Luck


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 10:08 p.m.

Small point of order. Once a publisher releases a newedition, theywill no longer sell the older. Therefore if one wnts the older edition it will only be available on secondary markets. It makes it difficult as you stated for a professor not assign the newer edition so the entire class will be literally on the same page. Just saying it is more on the publisher side than the professor

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 6:11 p.m.

Mr. Kimball: The only thing that changes in history textbooks from edition to edition is the addition of events that happened since the previous edition was published. Many, many classes never get that far in the course. Talk to serious historians (not the armchair variety), and they will tell you that anything more recent than 20 years cannot be properly understood as history, and cannot be meaningfully taught as history (unless historical understanding = memorization of names and dates = historical trivial pursuit). Indeed, history textbooks change so little from edition to edition that the same errors frequently reappear from the 1st edition onward. There is a simpler and cheaper (for the students, anyway) way of dealing with those events than publishing an entirely new textbook that will have pagination completely different from the previous textbook. This practice is done with malice aforethought--if the pagination were the same (except for the most recent chapters), the older textbooks could be used in conjunction with the newer books. But, if the publisher re-paginates, that's not possible. The instructor must assign, and the student therefore must buy the newer edition. Have I taught history? Interesting question. What does it matter? What I have written is either true or it is not. Prove me wrong. And because anything I say in reply to patently silly posts gets censored, this is where I will end. Good Night and Good Luck

Ed Kimball

Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 3:25 p.m.

Although I sympathize with your concerns, the idea that &quot;nothing has changed&quot; in history in a 3-4 year period is absurd. Have you taught history? Not only have there been new events, but previously unknown facts have become known and new perspectives on facts and events have arisen. The same is true in many other fields. For example, the teaching of calculus has been revolutionized by the availability of affordable graphing calculators. New textbooks increasingly include ways to take advantage of these tools to improve learning.

Mike K

Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 11:42 a.m.

&quot;Far be it for me to defend a business..&quot; Why? Is it wrong to sell something to someone who wants it? It is hard to imagine that someone selling textbooks goes belly up.


Wed, Jun 29, 2011 : 2:30 a.m.

Sounds like the government union scam where they piggy back compensation and pension plan increases off of each other, withhold negotiations becasue old contract terms prevail, and then go to mandated mediation favorable to unions for a &quot;compromised&quot; contract retroactive to the original expiration date. And you, ghost, defend this blatantly abusive startegy and are up in arms and spreading unsubstantiated data about textbook publishers.


Tue, Jun 28, 2011 : 9:31 p.m.

I had not realized that some if the companies weren't owned locally...

Angry Moderate

Tue, Jun 28, 2011 : 9:20 p.m.

Good, I'm glad the market is driving the textbook scammers out of business.


Tue, Jun 28, 2011 : 8:39 p.m.

This is not surprising really since the textbook pricing scam is starting to erode with the emergence of greater competition on the internet and e-versions of books. College textbooks are priced at outrageous levels and multiples higher than what books for the consumer market are priced at. It's amazing this scam has gone on for as long as it has.


Tue, Jun 28, 2011 : 8:18 p.m.

Point of clarification. Publishers of textbooks just like publishers of other media (dvds for ex) publish different versions or editions depending on where the end use is. Buying a cheaper Canadian or European version will not necessarily translate to ease of use in your classes here.


Tue, Jun 28, 2011 : 8:14 p.m.

I agree, text book price is outrageous and their &quot;buy back program&quot; a joke. Now that the internet can hook you up with people all over the world who are buying and selling the same books they couldn't screw you. And nobody reads books anymore. If I can't figure out what you're talking about in the time it takes to read a tweet I'm done.

dading dont delete me bro

Tue, Jun 28, 2011 : 8:16 p.m.

buyback? that's like penny's on the dollar. they sure don't charge dimes on the dollar for used books. i'd rather keep them. probably a better return to heat my house w/the used book.

dading dont delete me bro

Tue, Jun 28, 2011 : 8:07 p.m.

hunh? better check those 'books' (pun intended) have you seen the price of text books? ridiculous. books can cost almost as much as the class these days. don't cry about loosing to internet sales either.

Turd Ferguson

Tue, Jun 28, 2011 : 8:14 p.m.