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Apple collaborating on 2nd university bookstore retail opportunity

Recent evidence points to a possible partnership between Apple Retail and Fairfield University that could mark the second university bookstore to gain an official Apple Store.

The president of Fairfield University in Connecticut announced plans for a new bookstore last week, noting that the school was "in discussions with an industry leading computer retailer to have a presence in the bookstore." Though not named specifically, Appl is the most likely candidate, ifoAppleStore reports. The bookstore will move from its current on-campus location to a former Borders Books location in the city's downtown.

Fairfield is a private Jesuit university with approximately 5,000 students. Apple already has four stores in Connecticut, which has the fourth-highest household income in the U.S., despite being the third-smallest state.

Speculation regarding a partnership between Apple and Fairfield University follows the company's plans to collaborate with Yale University on a university Apple Store. Details of the store emerged in April, with Apple expected to occupy the basement, ground floor and possibly half a second floor of a former Barnes & Noble location now owned by Yale. ifoAppleStore suggests that, based on previous construction schedules, the location could open as early as mid-November 2011.

Meanwhile, a third university has hinted at plans for an Apple Store in their bookstore, though details of the project remain scarce. The University of Delaware Board of Trustees claimed in May that a new bookstore would include an Apple Store, but did not specify whether the store will be an official location from the company or a smaller campus-style reseller store.

Apple's retail operations reached the 10-year milestone in May, having served more than a billion visitors. As of last quarter, the company had 323 stores worldwide with $3.19 billion in revenue. But, the business faces some uncertainty going into the next decade, as Apple retail boss Ron Johnson announced last month his plans to take a new position as retailer J.C. Penney's CEO. Apple has said it is actively recruiting for Johnson's replacement.

The Cupertino, Calif., company's retail division may be looking to team up on education sales to make further inroads into the market. According to one analyst, the company's Macs are outselling Windows PCs by 4 to 1 among students. Apple kicked off its annual back-to-school promotion in June, offering a $100 iTunes gift card with the purchase of a qualifying Mac.