The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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Closing the Book on Ed’s


In the midst of tough economic times, Ed’s Book Store and Law Center on Union Turnpike — a University institution – closed the page on its 40-year-old business leaving students with one fewer option on where to buy their textbooks.

In an interview with The Torch, Edward Pries, former owner of Ed’s Book Store, cited high real estate taxes and fuel surcharges as the reason for the business’ closing.

“Every month we’d get this bill with an enormous fuel surcharge and it was an unpredictable cost,” he said. “Everything that comes in is through FedEx or UPS and there’s a fuel surcharge on all of that.”

Pries explained that because of the unpredictable costs, he decided last spring not to extend the lease on the lot.

“Our lease was up in September and we just couldn’t predict what the costs were going to be for the semester,” he said. “Mayor Bloomberg also keeps increasing the real estate taxes around here and it was starting to get to be unbearable.”

Pries’ bookstore, which he said has been around since the early 1970s, has often been lauded by University students and faculty for its friendly customer service.

Dr. Stephen Sicari, chair of the english department, was one of the professors who used Ed’s Book Store as an alternative to the University’s.

“I always valued Ed’s because the staff was very friendly,” he said. “They got orders right, they called me immediately if there was a problem, they took care of desk copies promptly and without issue.”

However, Sicari believes that the University book store will have no problem in helping students get their books.

“The campus store is well run and should be able to do the job,” he said.  “The University posts book orders on the web so students can shop around and save money if they can”.

Denise Servido, manager of the campus book store, said Pries contacted her prior to the closing.

“Ed actually called me and told me he wasn’t going to continue,” she said. “He told me the rent doubled and couldn’t run the store anymore…I feel bad for the guy but it’s the business of the book store.”

Andrew Pacura, an administrative studies major, said he bought a couple of philosophy books his freshman year from Ed’s as opposed to the campus store because it was cheaper.

“I feel the books there [at St. John’s Bookstore] are overpriced and even though they need to make a profit as a business, they should lower the prices for the students and make it easier,” he said.

“The only reason I buy it there now is because I can buy it all in one shot and make sure that I have the right book at the time.”

Henry Piper, a philosophy professor, also posted his books at Ed’s and said he feels sorry over the store’s closing because of a “big business.”

“I’m sorry it did close but Ed’s been a casualty of being shut out of a big business,” he said.

Pries however said the closing of the bookstore has less to do with the book business and more to do with the economy. “If you look up and down Union there’s empty stores all over the place,” he said. “It’s a sad situation.”

Junior Brittany Villegas said that she is currently looking for alternatives to the University bookstore, now that Ed’s has closed.

“Definitely, I will look for alternatives online such as Amazon or eBay because our bookstore is definitely charging a lot on our textbooks and even though Ed’s was a couple of cents [or] dollars cheaper it was still expensive,” she said.

Junior Masuda Raman also used to buy from the little bookstore across the street from the university and will consider going online.

“I used to buy biology and anthropology books from there, it sucks because it was cheaper and the books were available there,” she said.

Pries said that while he does have a few accounts still open, he does not think he will relocate for the time being because it would be too hard for him to find an affordable location.

Additional reporting by Anthony O’Reilly, News Editor

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Christopher Brito, News Editor
Contact: [email protected]. Since day one, Chris has been willing to sit down and learn the tricks and tools necessary to carry out this job. He has been dedicated, not only to reporting and writing on his own stories, but to the Torch as a whole. He has also not been hesitant to take on any and all responsibilities, something I’m sure he will continue to do throughout the next year.  These attributes will help Chris to raise the bar of excellence that has come to be expected of the Torch during his tenure as news editor. . —Anthony O-Reilly News Editor, Emeritus
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