Popular off-campus bookstore closes permanently

NMSU students are left with one less alternative for textbooks


David Castañeda

Campus Bookstore, a popular off-campus textbook place for NMSU students located off University Avenue, closed its doors in early January 2023. Pictured is the vacant space on Feb. 1, 2023.

Campus Bookstore, located in the Pan Am Plaza on University Avenue, closed its doors in early January leaving students shocked and at a loss for where to get their textbooks for a cheaper price against other competitors. 

 John Kelley, an NMSU senior majoring in accounting, didn’t know the bookstore had closed. 

“I remember visiting just a couple of months ago to return books from the fall semester,” Kelley said. “I frequently went to the off-campus bookstore, it’s a shame it’s closed, the people there were really helpful and nice, and they made it easy just asking for your class schedule and bringing you the books.” 

After asking around campus it seems that the Campus Bookstore is the preferred place to get textbooks for many students like Kelley.  

Journalism student Cera Moots and a senior, had gone to the off-campus bookstore for all of her books throughout college and had no idea it closed. 

“The off-campus bookstore was always my first option when looking for textbooks and I definitely think that it was one of the best options for college students in Las Cruces,” Moots said.  

“I’m happy that I’m graduating so I don’t have to worry about where I’m going to get my books,” she continued.  

Other students, however, were surprised to hear it closed but rarely visited the bookstore at the request of professors.  

“Professors always told me not to buy from there because they usually don’t sell the correct online access codes and stuff, so I stopped going there a long time ago,” said Andie Salas, an NMSU graduate student.  

Many students also worked seasonally at the bookstore where they would aid students in finding the right materials at the beginning of the school year and at the end of the semester. Employees would return to help students return their books. 

Cael Alderete, an NMSU student, was one of the many seasonal employees at Campus Bookstore who was shocked to see the bookstore close. Although the employees were notified of its closing last fall, “It was still surprising to hear after seeing the business excel, but the reasoning was sound,” Alderete noted.  

Being in the business for nearly 22 years, owner Cody Miller has helped NMSU students for around 13 years since the Las Cruces location opened in May 2009. This is not the only location; however, Miller has opened multiple bookstores across the state. 

The empty space of the former Campus Bookstore on Feb. 1, 2023. Once filled with shelves that carried a plethora of textbooks and course materials for students, the shop served the community for nearly 14 years. (David Castañeda)

“[The Las Cruces location] was the first one we opened [in the state], we do have others across the country but that’s the first one I had in this state, and I have two more in the state right now,” Miller said. 

With friendly competition from other book sources and services like Chegg, Amazon, books4less and the on-campus bookstore, the Las Cruces branch closed up shop. According to Miller, schools nationwide and publishing companies have found “what they think is a better way of providing course materials to students, and that’s direct to the student account.” 

“We don’t have the ability to charge a student account, so, they kind of cornered the market to where they guarantee themselves the sale,” Miller said.   

One thing that made the campus bookstore different from its competitors was the customer service and prices.  

“Our goal always pertained to giving students the best deals to start their semester right. Our customer service is also notable,” Alderete said. 

Although the closing of the bookstore left many students and professors shocked, Miller was more surprised by people’s response than the actual closing. 

“I don’t want to say that [the closing of the store] was shocking, but we were pleased with the people who reached out and thanked us for all the years of service for the Las Cruces community,” he said.

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