The Harvard Coop is evil

In a Harvard Crimson article from 19 September 2007 titled “Coop discourages note-taking in bookstore”, reporter Gabriel Daly writes that students are getting thrown out of the Coop for noting down prices and ISBN numbers of books in the store:

Coop President Jerry P. Murphy ’73 said that while there is no Coop policy against individual students copying down book information, “we discourage people who are taking down a lot of notes.”

The apparent new policy could be a response to efforts by—an online database that allows students to find the books they need for each course at discounted prices from several online booksellers—from writing down the ISBN identification numbers for books at the Coop and then using that information for their Web site.

Murphy said the Coop considers that information the Coop’s intellectual property.

Umm, no an ISBN number is not the Coop’s intellectual property. What a flagrant example of misusing intellectual property law to intimidate people.

But wait, the Harvard Crimson reports that the Coop has gotten even more hostile.

The Coop has not been the same since they asked the Borg, er, Barnes and Noble to manage the store. I spend hundreds of dollars a year on books, but you can be sure I’ll pass by the Coop and walk a few blocks down the street to Harvard Bookstore, the last remaining independent leftist bookstore in Harvard Square.


6 thoughts on “The Harvard Coop is evil

  1. Obijuan

    Barnes and Noble???

    Man, I’ve been away a long time. The Coop used to be my favorite stop on the Red Line when I was growing up. Best recorded music store on the planet at the time. God, I miss that.

  2. UU Jester

    The still call themself a Coop?
    Are they still an official Cooperative?

    If so, then the owners of said cooperative have a right and a responsibility to step in and address this abuse of power. One of the cooperative principles is service to and right relationship with the community they serve and in which they reside.

  3. Jean

    There’s a pretty simple solution: mobilize the professors to supply the ISBNs to the website, or better yet, directly to the students. I do it for my students. Then the students can get the books wherever they choose.

    And I do it because our bookstore, now also part of the BN empire as are all campus bookstores in the I.U. system, routinely stiffs my students by purchasing “used” textbooks and then selling them for full list price. A book my students could have gotten for $4 online some paid $57 for in the store. And the condition of those books? Grrr…

    Unfortunately, this is probably part of a larger scam, er scheme, er … oh, hell, it is a scam: Students who rely on financial aid to purchase their books are usually directed to go to a particular bookstore, and do not have the luxury of shopping around. So they usually go to the campus bookstore. And the students usually don’t complain about the price of books at that store because the books are paid for by financial aid, no tangible money changes hands at the cash register, and so the transaction feels painless.

    However, look around and see how many campuses BN now operates on. And, how many bookstore choices students on financial aid actually have. Hmmm. I’ll bet that not many are independent bookstores. To get around that requires further efforts of organizing professors against BN. It’s something that demands a nationwide effort, frankly.

    In fact, I think I’ll start with this next semester on my little campus.

  4. Scott Wells (Boy in the Bands)

    Financial aid didn’t work that way at my school and God knows I had to scrimp every penny. My resource was the library, especially for those text-heavy history classes. Even if I had late fees — and I avoided them when I could; I lived 300 paces from the main library my first two years– it was worth it.

    But back to Fair Harvard: surely the wizkids could organize buying clubs, if not a full-scale alternate cooperative.

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