In the age of e-commerce, he takes over a century-old law bookstore

University Street, in Montpellier (Hérault), the student law library it is a true institution. This little shop, which has been selling books for almost a century, specialized in law and political science in the 1980s. they go there to buy their Codes and manuals. But if time seems to have stopped in this bookstore, something has recently changed: the owner.

Bérénice Weil, a former law student, took over the reins of the boutique. And she is, a little, thanks to Covid-19. She graduated from Master 2 in Environmental Law in 2014, she used her Codes in a consulate in Mexico, in the Court of Appeals of Guyana, in a town hall, then in a start-up in the legal technology. So, “for pleasure, but also for work”, the young woman embarked on tourism, as a travel planner. When the pandemic broke out, she “stopped everything. So the regulations were changing all the time, it was not pleasant, neither for us nor for the clients”, confesses Bérénice Weil.

The former owner is “delighted”

Then he found out that the bookstore from his student years was for sale. “I knew the faculty, the professors, the neighborhood, the bookstore… I wanted to get involved in something related to law. I wanted to have my business, my business. And I was very attracted to the idea of ​​working between books. The former owner, of course, was delighted that her store remained a bookstore and not turned into a bank or snack bar. “I would have stayed until it was sold as a bookstore! smiled who had run this business since 1985. “I’m delighted! »

Especially since betting on the book at the time of Amazon may seem very daring. But if students and lawyers are faithful to the bookstore, it is, of course, because of the advice we offer them. In duet with Séraphim Herbillon, the other bookseller in the bookstore, Bérénice Weil assures: “Our great advantage is that we are both lawyers, she confesses. We both went to law school. We know each other. »

Bérénice Weill and Séraphim Herbillon, in front of the student law library – N. Bonzom / Maxele Presse

“The Codes are a work tool for a lawyer. Like the hammer for a worker”

And the law books, “we want to see them first, we want to leaf through them. Students sometimes spend ten or even fifteen minutes choosing between several. “For the same subject, there may be five or six textbooks, which may all have the same title, continues Séraphim Herbillon. On Amazon, we only see the front and back covers. And that’s it. Nothing, or almost, about the structure of the works.

As for digital books, they are not very widespread in the law. And, “dematerialized law books, it is complicated to work, explains the bookseller. The Codes are a working tool for a lawyer. Like the hammer for a worker. Having it on paper is much better. As for textbooks, students can flip through them, highlight them…”

The new owner of the Student Law Library has another great challenge to face: the computerization of the store, she confesses, sitting in front of a magnificent old cash register. “All the inventory, we did it by hand. All that there! she smiles, pointing to her stall. She wants to bring the bookstore up to date, “keeping, of course, the old spirit, which is very popular.”

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