Deal aims to create ‘best-in-class solution for private and parochial schools’
Follett announced it has acquired ClassBook, a K-12 education online bookstore that serve schools, teachers, parents, and students. ClassBook provides private and parochial schools with 24/7 bookstores, streamlining and personalizing the ordering and fulfillment process for print and digital textbooks.
The acquisition combines Follett’s publisher relationships, infrastructure, and resources with ClassBook’s digital services, with the combined entity steadfast in its focus on delivering high-touch customer service.
Follett accesses, curates and delivers content to schools from a network of more than 7,000 publishers and education-service providers. ClassBook provides and manages access to eBooks and eTextbooks through proprietary digital tools, including the “Virtual Backpack” app, which allows students to manage access through a single virtual bookshelf.
The companies are in the process of developing strategies and fully merging systems with designs on introducing more dynamic, customer-driven offerings timed with the beginning of the 2016-17 school year. Collectively, Follett Virtual Campus (Follett’s online-only bookstore division that primarily services the private and parochial market) and ClassBook will manage approximately 400 virtual store accounts.
“Acquiring ClassBook allows us to provide a best-in- class solution for private and parochial schools, a market that is important to us and has unique needs,” said Nader Qaimari, Executive Vice President, Follett Corporation, and General Manager, Follett School Solutions. “As education partners to these schools, we can enhance access to affordable course materials for their students, help improve efficiency, save on overhead, and allow them to provide access to the print and digital content their students need.”
In addition to the Virtual Backpack app, other key benefits Follett Virtual Campus customers will see with the integration of ClassBook include a significantly expanded library of digital content, and more streamlined buy-back processes.
ClassBook CEO Anthony Pfister recalled his company’s humble beginnings in 1992 and how it has dramatically grown to include some of the country’s highest profile schools among its customer base.
“We are grateful for the relationships we have cultivated over the years with our partner schools,” said Pfister, co-owner along with his sister, Christie Gildart. “Our accomplishments are a direct result of the trust provided to us by our schools, which has allowed us to successfully serve the parents and students. Yet we also know to take the next big steps forward, we needed the involvement of a widely respected education company such as Follett. We are excited about the future, what Follett brings to the table, and know that together we will take great care of our loyal and passionate customers.”
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, officials from both companies said.