Shopping and Style

University Book Store celebrates 125 years supporting students and the greater Madison community

Textbooks are no longer the focus

For 125 years, the University Book Store has been a staple on the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus.

The main location on Library Mall features everything from textbooks to school supplies and Badger-themed spirit wear to locally made gifts.

Patrick McGowan, the president of University Book Store, says despite the changes in retail over the past decade, a few things remain constant — mainly a focus on serving students.

"The pace of change in retail is incredible," McGowan says. "We serve the local market in a way that is specific to what people are looking for here in Madison."

Throughout its existence, the University Book Store has always had a location on State Street. Since 1894, when it first launched, it's grown to include a location at Hilldale Shopping Center, in the Health Sciences Learning Center, in Janesville and in Brookfield near Milwaukee.

"Over 125 years, there's been so many people involved to get us to this point," McGowan says. "We just want to continue to evolve."

McGowan says the University Book Store is a nonstockholding corporation, so it does not have owners and does not receive funding from the university or the state. 

While many associate the bookstore with textbooks, McGowan says the store continues to expand its stock of Wisconsin- and university-themed apparel, accessories and gifts for those visiting and living in Madison.

"If you are visiting the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus, then want to pick something up to remember your visit by, we've got the selection of Wisconsin apparel and gifts that is better than anybody's and better than you'll get on the website," McGowan says.


Just for Laughs: Toss on a pair of fun Blue Q socks featuring sassy sayings and pictures. $10.99 and up

Baby Badger: Start gearing up your little one for Wisconsin football games with a Jump Around onesie. $21.99 

Cheese Lover: Show off your America's Dairyland pride with a Wisconsin license plate-themed T-shirt. $24.99

First and 10: Celebrate game days with cardinal-and-white overalls. $54.99

Wash Your Hands: Reminisce over the scent of the North Woods with a bar from Madison Soap Co. $6.50

On Parade: Continue celebrating last summer's Bucky on Parade with magnets depicting the 85 statues. $6.99

Take Note: Add a stylish Erin Condren notebook to your office and start a daily journal. $13.99

Crack Open a Bottle: Give the gift of beer with a culinary twist through a beer bread mix. $9.99

University Book Store 
711 State St. (flagship location)

Maija Inveiss is digital content editor of Madison Magazine.

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