With help from college bookstores, BookRenter expands its reach

Since web sites like Chegg and BookRenter started renting textbooks, some students have been avoiding college bookstores. Now, the bookstores want in on the game, reports the New York Times. BookRenter announced June 3 that it has partnered with more than 75 college bookstores to rent textbooks. It also announced that it has raised $10 million in venture capital from Norwest Venture Partners and its previous investors, Storm Ventures and Adams Capital Management. BookRenter and Chegg are in head-to-head competition, but with different business models. Chegg has raised $146 million and operates a warehouse in Kentucky, near the UPS, from which it mails books. BookRenter has raised $16 million and does not hold its own inventory, but instead contracts with Amazon.com and several other booksellers to fulfill customer orders. “Education is going through a massive transformation,” said Mehdi Maghsoodnia, chief executive of BookRenter. “Renting textbooks is what iTunes was to music. It’s unraveling the economics.” College bookstores can use BookRenter to set up their own web sites, branded with the college’s name, and BookRenter does all the behind-the-scenes work. BookRenter and the bookstores share the revenue; students can receive the books by mail or walk to the campus bookstore to pick them up…

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