Renting Out Your Textbooks – A nice Annuity for Students

18 Mar

There’s something malign about paying 3 figures for a hunk of dead trees, only to see its price plunge seventy percent in a case of weeks. College kids selling textbooks know the sensation well.  Turning in books to the campus book shop is a demonstration of giving up assets for nickels on the buck.  “There’s a general disgust,” asserts Alan Martin,  Chief Executive Officer  of CampusBookRentals, a corporation that leases out textbooks to students.

“It’s not only that they cost so much, but they get so very little back in return.” Naturally, there are options.  Amazon, eBay and other online channels offer decent prospects for scraping back face value but there’s risk if the books don’t sell.  And since online customers expect to buy used titles at a steep discount, scholars still leave money on the table.  One proved way to squish value and even a pleasant profit out of textbooks : rent them.  Firms  like CampusBookRentals and Chegg have built multimillion-dollar enterprises on the model.

Lease  out a $120 book for $40 4 times, say, then sell it for $30.

Multiply that eventuality several thousand times and the mathematics adds up pleasantly.  CampusBookRentals now wants to insert the scholar into that equation.  With a programme called Rentback, the Utah-based company inspires scholars to send in their used textbooks, which CBR then leases out per the typical process.  Scholars , who continue to officially own the books though out collect the results of each rental minus a $19 exchange charge that covers shipping, selling, logistics and a little profit for the company.  For a textbook like Physics, for instance, released by Wiley &  Boys , CBR is expecting to hire the book for $54 at first, and for smaller quantities 3 further times. Whether or not the price declines by $5 for each successive rental, scholars sending in the title still stand to make $110 during the course of 2 years. At any time between rentals they can take the book back and sell it on their lonesome if they believe the economics make little sense.  A new version of the same title sells for $172 on Amazon.  The tradeoff is easy : CBR gets an inexpensive stock of textbooks while promoting goodwill among its consumers.  Martin admits the programme isn’t engineered to serve as an addition cash stream, but to deepen shopper faithfulness and fortify the organization’s brand cachet.

To avoid getting stuck with bad inventory, the company only accepts books that have proved demand.  Don’t send in this title as an example.  Though   best commonly known as a customer brand, CBR is increasingly targeted on introducing its technology into school bookstores.  The company powers the textbook renting services of two hundred and fifty campus bookstores through white-label partnerships, running touchscreen kiosks, iPhone programs and inventory management software.  “Those stores will be the number one partners and drivers of Rentback,” Martin explains. Every one publicizes the money making chance to its student body.  Martin asserts that 1.2 million scholars attend universities with a CBR-partnered bookstore. A mirrored image of its shifting focus, CBR is differentiating its purchaser business from bookstore efforts, branding the second as  Path .

One reason for the raised attention on bookstores : the digital threat.  Published  textbooks still rule today’s landscape, but what about 10 years from now?  “We need to take the industry endpoints,” Martin strains.

“That’s going to give us the chance to be the main digital distributors as well.”  Though   still made to look tiny by Chegg’s reported $200 million in 2011 sales, CBR has grown at a quick clip since Martin set up the company with $250,000 in bank card debts in 2007.  The company posted sales of $28 million last year, treble its 2010 take of $9 million.  Martin is expecting to lease out 1,000,000 books in 2013 and top 2012 cash by twenty p.c. while refining the corporation’s book shop technology.

Unlike Chegg, CBR has been rewarding since 2009.  Martin reveals that CBR also partners with “frenemies” like Amazon and eBay to meet order for their book rental programs.  “Publishers,” from the other standpoint, “are always going to intend we were nonexistent.”.

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