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Online Store Takes Textbook Sales Off-Campus

By Mary Hillebrand
Jul 8, 1999 12:00 AM PT

College, private high school and distance learning students may soon find some relief from the textbook price gouge they endure each semester if a new program from VarsityBooks.com takes off. The online textbook seller has launched a new partnership program, aimed at fulfilling book sales for schools across the country.

Online Store Takes Textbook Sales Off-Campus

For participating schools, the program virtually eliminates the need to stock and sell textbooks. It also pays them a portion of the sales revenue VarsityBooks.com takes in from referred students, giving the schools a financial reason to direct students to the online bookstore. The schools' revenue kickbacks are based on how many books they list with the online store and how many of their students shop there.

Three colleges, six prep schools and a tech school have already joined the program. "We see the trend of textbook buying online becoming more and more popular," Alaska Pacific University Assistant Business Manager Brian Douglas said. Alaska Pacific looks forward to shedding the hassle of running its own bookstore and letting VarsityBooks.com shoulder the responsibility for stocking enough copies of the correct titles at the right times, he added.

Benefits for Students

The main draw, and perhaps the primary driver behind additional schools joining the partnership program, is the advantage buying online presents for students and their parents. Latching onto the increasingly popular principle of high volume sales with no geographical boundaries, the bookseller says it will be able to offer "unprecedented discounts" to students and parents.

The store will also help participating schools create customized book lists for their students, allowing the students to use the list hosted by VarsityBooks.com as the "official book list," thereby eliminating the need to seek out individual teachers for their reading requirements.

The online store will allow students to create accounts and give them a variety of payment options. Books will be discounted up to 40 percent off the suggested list price, and VarsityBooks.com offers a flat $4.95 per order shipping charge, regardless of the size or weight of the shipment.

About VarsityBooks.com

The George Washington University Law School alumni Eric Kuhn and Tim Levy launched VarsityBooks.com in 1997 in Washington. The store offers more than 400,000 titles and access to millions more through its relationships with educational publishers. VarsityBooks.com was the first online textbook store to include customized course book lists for colleges.


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