Tag Archive: chegg
All the excitement of back-to-school is building. This is the season, make-or-break time for many in the textbook space. (more…)
As we get deeper into summer, I wanted to spend a moment and recap the eBooks platform reviews we’ve covered over the past six months. (more…)
Over the past three years, both education insiders and venture capitalists have watched with interest as Chegg has grown and developed. In 2010, the company raised more than $140 million, spending an estimated $50 million of that money on six acquisitions over a two year time period. But where was the textbook-rentals company going? (more…)
But what does this mean for the industry, competitors, and a possible IPO?
Late last week, in a press release entitled “Chegg Expands Beyond Textbook Rental Industry; New Educational Services Include Class Scheduling and Homework Help,” the textbook-rental giant discussed its expansion into other educational areas such as homework help and class selection. While many news sites simply reprinted the story, I dug deeper to look at what Chegg has done and the bigger-picture ramifications.
Let’s start with some history: In early 2010, I made a prediction (and since it never came to fruition, I’m off the hook for having to prove that I made it!). I was positive that Chegg was going to purchase a large marketplace website. To me, it made perfect sense and was a natural fit: if a rental company owned a big marketplace, the company would have access to all of the sellers and most of the inventory, essentially creating a ready-made drop-ship fulfillment model. And in some senses, this has played out, though not exactly as I envisioned. The changes manifested in the form of websites such as Alibris.com providing textbook-rental sites (and other sites as well) with access to the inventory data without the rental sites having to build (or buy) any of the infrastructure.
1) How it would obtain inventory
2) How it would engage students during the school year
3) How it would handle the emergence of eTextbooks
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.
Like general e-commerce, textbook rental was again center stage. In addition to the traditional CAMEX vendors, several online rental companies, including BookRenter.com, CampusBookRentals.com (through Bookstore Solutions), and Chegg, were present at the show.
Surrounding the event were several important press releases regarding rental and the rental players:
- BookRenter.com announced its partnership with NACS in order to position the move as uniting online rentals and bricks-and-mortar college stores as the ultimate source for affordable textbooks.
- BookRenter also had a nice timely release on the company’s stability and immediate intentions as they announced raising a Series-C round of funding in the amount of $40 million.
- Chegg announced its partnership with the Independent College Bookstore Association in a new commitment to deliver affordable textbook rentals to campuses nationwide.
- Follett announced a new online-rental solution for independent bookstores.