I read recently that Chegg.com raised $25M from KPCB and Foundation Capital for expanding their textbook rental service. Chegg.com is another proof point that whenever there is inefficiency in the marketplace there is an opportunity. Students NEED textbooks AND they are EXPENSIVE. Chegg.com’s model is not to lower the prices on text books but to rent them.
Chegg.com is not alone in this space. I met the founders of TextbookRenter who have an innovative model to ensure that there is “guaranteed availability” of text books (can’t go into the details of the model here)
Of course, giants like Barnes and Noble make a lot of money selling textbooks and they don’t want to let go of that revenue. As you can see, they are working aggressively to cut prices on now books and also feature used books at “up to 90%” discount.
Add to this, options like eBay, University bookstores, borrowing from friends and other secondary markets will create a “textbook battleground” in the next few months.
All the best to everyone of them.