Labyrinth owner Dorothea von Moltke said the store decided to increase security over the summer. She said that calculations conducted by the store concluded that the amount of money lost due to shrinkage and stolen items was greater than the cost of adding the extra security.
“There is always shrinkage,” von Moltke said. “Any business sees shrinkage, and the more valuable the books you have, the more it matters.”
Von Moltke said that there is a large Internet market in textbook sales and there is speculation that stolen books make up a large part of the market.
“We are inherently vulnerable, especially as textbook prices are soaring,” she explained. “It’s a big-risk market.”
As a result, over the summer, von Moltke sat down with the Princeton Borough Police Department and talked to several other textbook vendors to hear their recommendations on how to best combat the shrinkage. In response, Labyrinth began placing magnetic strips on many of its books. Once the book has been purchased, the clerk at the register removes the magnet. If someone were to walk out of the store without paying for the book, the alarm at the electronic gate would ring.
However, the alarm would often ring when students exited Labyrinth with library books in their bags, posing an inconvenience both for customers and for staff who would have to come over and check their bags.
Von Moltke said the addition of the guard was a simple measure intended to ease students’ shopping experiences. The guard will now check customers’ bags in the event that the alarm rings.
“We realized that the beeper at the door goes off all the time, and it is almost always because of library books,” von Moltke said. “During our more hectic times of the year, like the beginning of a semester, it is easier for someone else to keep watch and turn off the alarm rather than our staff members.”
She added that the security guard will be at Labyrinth only during the busiest shopping periods of the year, such as the beginning of each semester.
Von Moltke emphasized that the increased security has nothing to do with a suspicion that University students are stealing Labyrinth’s books.
“It’s important that the students know that we are not suspicious of them,” von Moltke said, adding that she wants to make the shopping experience as efficient as possible for students. “We consider ourselves to be a part of the campus and nearby surrounding community, and generally we believe that students feel the same way.”
The store sold 75,000 course books last year, an increase in sales following a new partnership between the University and the bookstore that gives students a 30 percent discount.
Original URL: http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2012/09/19/31162/