University yearbooks closing nationally, Belle Air sales rise

Amanda Muldoon

While a recent article in The Washington Post portrayed a dim outlook for the future of college yearbooks, Villanova’s Belle Air Yearbook is doing well and even expecting an increase in sales this year, according to senior and co-Editor in Chief Sierra Avil. 

Several college yearbooks have had to stop publishing in recent years due to lack of student interest and funds. 

The Belle Air Yearbook staff has taken on both of these issues by making changes, such as switching to a new publisher this year, whose marketing plan is expected to significantly increase sales. 

“They provided us with professional-level promotional paperwork such as posters and postcards and even helped us to revamp our Web site to create a more visually appealing and updated look and feel,” Avil said. “On the Web site you can now order your yearbook, order a senior congratulatory advertisement, schedule your senior portrait and even buy yearbooks from previous years.” 

Beyond the new marketing plan, the yearbook staff has tried to gain student interest by appealing to the digital generation through sites like Facebook and Gmail.  

“We are using Facebook to communicate with the students,” Avil said. “We made a Belle Air Yearbook group page and have been posting announcements to send in photos and quotes. We also made a Gmail account to help us collect photos of the senior class for the Seniors section. We are working to increase our presence on campus and to create a word-of-mouth buzz on campus.” 

As for funds, the Belle Air Yearbook receives an annual budget each year from Student Development and then tries to recoup most of the money through sales.

 “Last year we sold 800 books, and this year we are planning on selling 1,200 books,” Avil said. “Taylor Publishing Company has a great marketing plan so that has been working really well for us this year. That’s why we increased our target goal this year.”

Though Villanova’s yearbook seems to be doing well, the staff is aware that college yearbooks will decline in the coming years, as students look to digital means for preserving their college memories. 

Some colleges have already addressed this issue by creating a year-in-review DVD rather than a printed yearbook. These DVDs, or even digital yearbooks, are not yet in the works at Villanova but could emerge in the future as a way to attract the digital generation. 

According to Avil, she and her Co-Editor in Chief Tara Lopez, are considering a year-in-review DVD.  

“We were talking about that in August and even last year,” Avil said. “However, we were unable to formally initiate that project during our time. We hope that the future editors-in-chief can make moves to start this project within the next few years. We have several young, new and excited section editors and staff members. It has so much more room for growth and expansion, and we are very excited to see it develop in the future.”