Follett Corp. Names George F. Coe (Baker & Taylor) As COO
Follett got its man as the college bookstore giant named George F. Coe (formerly of Baker & Taylor) its new COO. This is in no way unexpected as Follett continues its rapid consolidation of the college bookstore market. Take a look at what Follett has scooped up in terms of both retail and distribution in less than two years:
- June 2015: Follett acquired Neebo, Nebraska Book Company’s retail division, adding 200+ college bookstores both on campus and off campus (not to mention Neebo.com).
- April 2016: Follett acquired Baker and Taylor, thus taking control of the distribution side of academic bookselling.
- February 2017: Follett names former B&T executive Coe as COO effective March 31, 2017.
Follett’s strategy of vertical integration makes sense in light of the necessity of competing against Amazon. Coupling its already significant college bookstore footprint with Neebo, in addition to buttressing its logistical back-end operations with the Baker & Taylor acquisition, gives Follet a strong bricks-and-mortar competitive advantage that is difficult to replicate. It remains to be seen whether this will be enough to withstand the Amazon juggernaut.