New textbook exchange site helps students ‘defy’ publishers

College students spend more than $900 annually on textbooks.

After a bachelor’s degree, a law degree, and a business degree, Derek Haake estimates his total textbook costs at around $20,000 — and now he’s hitting back at the publishing industry with a website that could slash college students’ book costs.

Haake, of Akron, Ohio, launched the site in April, creating a forum for students hoping to sell their textbooks for more than a few bucks to peers looking to save cash on used books.

Using BookDefy’s software, students can privately list their used textbooks. Other students – once they find the book they’re searching for – can privately message the seller and arrange a textbook swap at local businesses and campus hangouts designated by BookDefy, which is free for college students.…Read More

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 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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