The Co-op Bookshop

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The Co-op
Non-profit books retailer
Founded 1958
Headquarters Sydney, Australia
Website The Co-op Online

The Co-op is the largest academic and professional non-profit books retailer in Australia.[1][2]

History[edit]

The Australian National University branch of The Co-op

The Co-op was established by students led by the late Malcolm Broun, Celtophile, bibliophile and lawyer, in 1958 at the University of Sydney and has grown to become the largest provider of educational, professional and lifelong learning resources in Australia. The Co-Op has over 60 branches across Australia, offers numerous additional services and has more than 2 million members.[3]

The Co-op is registered under the NSW Co-operatives Act 1992 (the Act) [4]

The Co-op is a Member of the Australian Campus Booksellers Association, ACBA.[5]

The company is the largest cooperative in Australia, and the second largest book seller. In 2004 it produced a turnover of $75 million.[6]

In August 2016 the company acquired the Australian Geographic retail chain.[7]

Criticisms[edit]

Students activists, former board members and co-op members have accused the co-op of drifting away from the original values of the co-operative movement: democratic-engagement, non-profit and transparency. According to the Canberra Times, in the early 90s directors with backgrounds in publishing and academia lost a factional battle to accountants who increased directors’ salaries and gradually made it harder for members to participate in board elections. [8] In 2004, two disenchanted Sydney University Students launched a campaign to elect themselves onto the board to argue for cheaper textbooks and reduced directors’ salaries. They claim the co-op responded by adding more obstacles to student participation, such as moving their AGMs to Hobart, increasing the number of members’ signatures required to call SGMs from 200 to 10,000 [9] and introducing requirements to be elected to the board that students cannot meet. Currently, to be elected to the board an individual must: 1) "demonstrate participation in the management and direction of a medium to large size business of not less than five years in aggregate" and 2) "have graduated from a recognized University...or TAFE degree”. In 2016, Chief Executive Officer Thorsten Wichtendahl told Student Magazine Farrago, “Quite frankly, I wouldn’t want to be reporting to a 21-year-old, first-year uni student. I take my guidance, strategic direction, coaching and mentoring from our board of directors – experienced company directors.”[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Submission to the Review of Higher Education Financing and Policy University:Co-operative Bookshop Limited". Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations of Australia. Retrieved 5 July 2011. 
  2. ^ "University Co-operative Bookshop Limited - Premium Company Report Australia". 31-Aug-2010. IBISWorld Premium Company Reports. Retrieved 5 July 2011. 
  3. ^ "About the Co-op". Retrieved 13 June 2012. 
  4. ^ "About the Co-op". Retrieved 13 June 2012. 
  5. ^ "ACBA Members". Retrieved 13 June 2012. 
  6. ^ "Students stranded as unco-operative bookshop hits the road". Sydney Morning Herald. 16 March 2004. Retrieved 26 December 2010. 
  7. ^ Pash, Chris (2016-08-26). "The university Co-op has saved Australian Geographic stores". Business Insider Australia. Retrieved 2017-02-07. 
  8. ^ http://www.canberratimes.com.au/zoom/archive/rnews930119_0046_9809
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ http://farragomagazine.com/2016/08/29/beer-not-books/

External links[edit]

[2]