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The textbooks market is really heating up over the past few months. The startup in the space, Chegg, recently raised $57 million in venture capital. Earlier this month Amazon launched a textbook trade-in service.
Today Barnes & Noble launched a program to attempt to woo students over to their side of the field. The program offers students 10 free music downloads when they purchase their textbooks on bn.com. And if the student is willing to spam their friends, they will get a bonus 10 music downloads.
There are thirty artists to pick from. Honestly I’ve never heard of any of these artists – here’s the full list: Vampire Weekend, Neko Case, Diane Birch, Phoenix, Grizzly Bear, Gossip, Devendra Banhart, Tegan And Sara, Swell Season, Tom Waits, Alec Ounsworth, Mayer Hawthorne, Polly Scattergood, Amanda Blank, White Demin, Black Lips, Au Revoir Simone, The Raveonettes, Cage, King Khan And The Shrines, Temper Trap, White Rabbits, Cage The Elephant, Jonah Sees In Color, Metric, Avett Brothers, Wale, Chester French. Built To Spill, Fanfarlo and Brandi Carlile.
Most of the songs are available on Amie Street for 34 cents to $1.29 each. Considering that next week all of the calendars will be 50-80% off, why not throw in a nice calendar when a student buys a book? I am guessing the students already have the music they want and the calendar will make sure they don’t miss their exams and B&N could have created a calendar with monthly coupons and offers.
My last year in undergrad I lived in a tiny apartment over the only off-campus bookstore. The apartment was so small that I had to lift the 3 foot kitchen counter every time I wanted to enter the bathroom. But the apartment was great as I was able to work in the bookstore during the rush periods at the beginning and the end of each semester to grab some extra cash. What I learned was that the key was to charge as much as possible for the used books and pay out as little as possible to the students hoping to return their books. This was before the Internet so students really had little choice — accept the $5 on a book you paid $125 for or use it as a monitor stand. As an accounting student, all of our books “had” to be updated each year due to all the changes in accounting and tax law.
Earlier this month Amazon announced the launch of their textbooks trade-in service. This new textbook service is different than the normal Amazon used book sales option. The textbooks must be in good condition. Once you mail the books to Amazon, you receive a credit in your Amazon account — no cash is provided. Since textbooks and typically heavy, you should factor in the shipping costs as part of the trade-in.
The big player in the textbook space is Chegg – you can rent textbooks and also sell your books to Chegg for cash or credit. Chegg has raised over $160 million since 2005 which includes $57 million in funding last month.
Here’s an Amazon pricing example using the fabulous Intermediate Accounting textbook:
- New – $155.10
- Used – starts from $120
- Trade-in price – $83.80