A new name for the McGill Bookstore?

Posted on Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Le James or Magasin General Store, which new name do you prefer for the McGill Bookstore? (Note: None of the designs are final. They are for illustration purposes only)

As most of you have heard, the Bookstore is going through many changes right now; we are rethinking the way that we serve the community and what our brand says about us.

One thing under consideration is our name. The current name, “Bookstore,” is a description of what we were initially created to do, and it is what most universities call their store. However, we all know we do more than just sell books; we sell clothing, McGill-branded products, gifts, technology hardware and accessories, stationery, food, frames, etc. We also host events and facilitate event registration. Bottom-line: we provide many different things to our very diverse community.

So elevating the name to a brand that goes beyond books is an interesting idea. We went through a thorough process and have evaluated several options. We logo-ized them, tested them on a mock storefront, on a website, across various communication platforms, and so on.

In this process, we wanted our name to evoke our legacy and heritage, while describing a contemporary space where our community can find a variety of products and services. Our two final selections are:


GenStore1By definition, a general store is a retail store that offers a very diverse selection of goods, a place you can go to fulfill all of your immediate needs. “General Store” also leverages the tradition of another time, and evokes the concept of a gathering place, where busy members of the community would meet while shopping and take time to socialize. 


LeJames3This name refers to the founder of the University and is a tribute to his importance. This enables us to put a unique name and face on the store, to tell great stories about McGill and honour all the great people who have graduated from McGill. LE JAMES proposes a name of a person rather than just describing what we are. The McGill Bookstore can genuinely own this name. The “LE” in front of “JAMES” makes the store a real place, with a nod to our identity as an English institution in a francophone province. Finally, the descriptive “Bookstore/Librairie” remains, which is the link with our current brand.

We want you to have your say, to tell us how you feel about these two options. For this purpose, we are launching a forum until Dec. 4, on the Bookstore Facebook page and website.

The entire McGill community, whether students, professors, staff, alumni, parents, etc., is invited to share their point-of-view so we can then select the best name for our new bookstore.

For more information email Jason Kack, General Manager, Bookstore





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Category: Around Campus

11 Responses to A new name for the McGill Bookstore?

  1. Frieder Schoeck says:

    I find Le James a bit meaningless. A lot of people and students won’t know what it refers to, and you’re still left with the bookstore, which doesn’t accurately describe the store any longer.

    Therefore, the general store logo is better in my opinion. But, please, remove the accents aigues from GENERAL. I know, the Academie francaise recommends capital accents, but in real life, they are rarely used in French, and certainly not in English. These accents feel like a misguided attempt to please the Office de la langue francaise in Quebec.

  2. Wayne Wood says:

    What happens if you go into a general store and ask for something specific?

  3. Bookstore says:

    Unless there are no more books being sold in The McGill Bookstore, I would suggest:
    The McGill Bookstore
    and in French:
    Librairie McGill or La librairie McGill.
    So the plaque would read in whatever orientation
    No confusion…ALL bookstores sell coffee machines and other unrelated stuff. A name is a legacy, it does not have to cover exactly what is sold, but should refer to its origins.
    As for general store….can I buy me some cheese and ammo?
    As for the French accents – if a name requires accents they should be there in Québec – the main historically reason why France exempted capitalized letters from accents was the limitation of the old typewriter.
    But sticking to Bookstore/Librairie pre-empts all that.

  4. Gary Murch says:

    I agree with Bookstore’s comment:
    “The McGill Bookstore” and in French “Librairie McGill”.
    No matter what it is named, this is still what it will be referred to as. No need to change simply for the sake of change.
    “The current name, “Bookstore,” is a description of what we were initially created to do, and it is what most universities call their store.”
    (Visitors/customers will be able to find it intuitively!)

  5. Alice says:

    “Magasin Général Store” is misleading. “Le James” is needlessly pretentious, is undescriptive, and, well, just sounds silly. Bookstore and Gary are right. McGill Bookstore needs a rebranding, but that doesn’t mean the name has to change – it’s a university bookstore.

  6. LJ says:

    I think “Le James” is a superb name for the new name for the bookstore as it will spur some people on to learn about Montreal’s history and as a philanthropist and founder of McGill University, James McGill, is certainly worthy of this small honour. I recommend taking the time to read about McGill University’s founder at the following link: https://www.mcgill.ca/about/history/meet-james-mcgill

  7. Sheeda says:

    As said in earlier comments, the two new names under consideration are either needlessly pretentious or simply stupid. Current name works fine. Please McGill don’t force this on me, I really like you.

  8. Bookstore Forever! says:

    I am really not a fan of either options. They don’t reflect the school whatsoever and are meaningless. I think the name should be kept as its current name. All universities refer to bookstores as such despite selling much more than books, in fact all bookstores do this. Rebranding okay thats one matter but that doesn’t need a name change. Tradition should still be kept as much as possible through these changes since that is what our students know and love.

  9. Grad Student says:

    Le James sounds more like a bar than a university bookstore, and General Store sounds like a depanneur. In my opinion neither is a descriptive and lasting option worthy of re-branding. I see the need to meet the OLFQ’s requirements. Instead I would suggest:

    Le James McGill
    Campus Shop
    Librairie | Bookstore

  10. Carrie says:

    I actually like James in the title. How about a similar sign to the second red one, red in keeping with McGill’s colors, and write Librairie above, James in the middle, and Bookstore beneath? Librairie & Bookstore in smaller print above and below.

  11. Maree says:

    I like both names, my favorite being the Magasin Général.

    It is true that “Le James” seems meaningless right now, but as soon as we will start using it, it won’t be anymore. And people will wonder why it was called “James”, so they will learn about the Sir McGill’s first name. It would actually be a great opportunity to learn about it.

    The Magasin Général is very nice, and I think it applies very well to what our bookstore is selling. Food would be missing, though, so maybe that could be the bookstore’s next step toward a real magasin général. ;) And I think it is appropriate also because Canada used to be formed of many colonies, and the General store was everything to them. They went there to buy their clothing, their materials, everything, but also to make new acquaintances, learn the latest news in the village, and whatever was going on at that time. (And God knows a lot of stuff was going on!) It reminds us of that. It is also very easy to remember and cute.

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