Phillips Academy Andover has lost sight of its long-standing relationship with the Andover community. As an Andover resident and Phillips Academy alumnus, I was shocked and disappointed to hear that my alma mater was severing ties with Andover Bookstore.
Textbook sales at Andover Bookstore represent 50 percent of the store’s receipts, according to co-owner John Hugo. Without a rent reduction, this fixture of the Andover community and a national symbol of America’s literary history could have to shut its doors after 205 years. This would be a tragedy for Phillips Academy, the Town of Andover and the integrity of hometown bookstores across the nation.
Phillips Academy prides itself on the symbiotic relationship it has with the Town of Andover, but this decision to sign a deal with a $2.7-billion company shows the antithesis: Phillips Academy cares more about the bottom line.
In the end, it is the students who purchase textbooks, and the sacred relationship between Andover Bookstore and Phillips Academy, formed over 200 years ago, that has assured that students are able to purchase the necessary textbooks in a warm, familiar environment.
Purchasing textbooks at Andover Bookstore is always an exciting part of each trimester. The warm fire, historic interior and friendly staff members are always helpful and eager to greet students, and it is often the first time students see many of their friends after vacation. The traditions and environment of the bookstore parallel those of the academy.
By choosing a multi-billion-dollar company, Phillips Academy is demonstrating its commitment to its finances and not to the community that has hosted generations of Phillips Academy students. Phillips Academy is fortunate to have a healthy financial situation and rather than saving a few hundred thousand dollars, it should use its financial resources and reputation in the community to help sustain and support Andover Bookstore.
Phillips Academy cannot afford to tarnish its relationship with the Andover community and the Andover community cannot afford to lose this historic bookstore. It is time for both parties to come together to preserve Andover Bookstore for future generations.
9 Tiffany Lane
Phillips Academy class of 2009