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Crime

For students, keeping tabs on where your cell phone is or locking up your laptop with a handy desk lock is common practice in the library. But what about your textbooks? Textbook theft is a rising concern for students across the nation. It may seem odd, but when you consider that textbook prices continue to rise (and so do sites paying money for those books), textbooks themselves are becoming high-risk items. Like the common practice of stealing and reselling bikes, stealing textbooks and selling them back to the bookstore or online retailer can turn a quick buck, and with some textbooks valued at hundreds of dollars, it is an appealing offer.

Take, for example, University of Virginia student Stephen Lambert, who in 2010 was charged with grand larceny for stealing nearly $20,000 worth of texts from the campus bookstore and reselling them on Half.com. Not to be out done, this year in Tennessee a student was arrested and now faces a class B or C felony charge for stealing approximately $60,000 worth of books and attempting to sell them to local pawn shops.

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Today is a big day: Campus Books released a cache of data from our Spring buy back period last year. This is big for a number of reasons. First, as one of the biggest price aggregators out there, we have a lot of data, and we’re sharing it with you. Second, this data can be a valuable tool for retailers and deal-seekers alike. It’s common (but often overlooked) sense when you compare it to any other investment: you wouldn’t purchase an investment looking only at purchase cost. You’d also plan for the best resale value.

The full amount of data and some notable results are available for download, so I won’t go into them here. However, the results have some important implications that go beyond just the data points.

First and foremost, students need to be vigilant about selling books in the same way they seek savings when looking to buy. The sentiment is often, “end-of-semester, get me to summer already,” but students can really benefit from doing some final homework.

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The battle over textbook rentals is moving off line and into the campus bookstore, and the turf up for grabs includes both institutional and private stores. During our

CAMEX recap, we shared stories about Follett’s new partner program with independent bookstores, as well as a new partnership between Chegg and ICBA and one between BookRenter.com and NACS. And the trend continues with other companies following suit.

  

South Eastern Book Co. Joins Forces with CollegeBookRenter.com
SEB, through their $10-million investment in CollegeBookRenter becomes an in-store rental player catering to the needs of today’s college students by offering an online textbook rental program. SEB Rental customizes each bookstore’s rental site using the appropriate school colors and bookstore logo. Unlike its competitors that require a 7-10 day turnaround, SEB guarantees that a bookstore’s rental site will be live within three business days of the initial request. SEB provides the necessary customer support and IT assistance and even facilitates customer returns. SEB will assume any losses associated with students’ failure to return textbooks, and bookstores will collect a 10% commission on all textbooks rented through their SEB rental site. SEB Rental offers a store-reporting function and the company provides promotional materials to drive traffic to bookstores’ rental sites and help ensure their success.