The market for college textbooks market is an established, fragmented market that is quickly undergoing fundamental changes. Traditionally, textbooks have been sold through on campus bookstores owned and operated by the school, with minimal competition. In the mid 1950s, private off-campus bookstores began selling college textbooks to students, introducing the new dynamic of competition into the market. Slowly but surely, private off-campus bookstores grew as they offered the student value in new and used college textbooks. During the same time, national bookseller corporations that sold both general books in addition to textbooks grew in size and scope. Faced with the difficulties of profitably running an efficient college bookstore, many Universities began outsourcing their bookstores to these private corporations in an effort to better service their students while enhancing bookstore profitability. This has led to more efficient service but also higher prices.
The campus bookstore has traditionally enjoyed a monopoly on college textbooks on their campus. Through strategic, central campus locations, wide selections of new and used textbooks, and timely booklist information, campus bookstores have been able to lure in generations of college students. With no choice in where to buy their college textbooks, students were forced to pay top dollar for their textbooks or in many cases, simply go without their books. Finally at the end of the semester textbook buyback, students were forced to accept pennies on the dollar for their used college textbooks, only to see those same textbooks for sale the next semester at a huge markup.
With the dawn of the Internet age in the 1990s and the advent of new national college textbooks companies, the textbook industry began to change. For the first time, any student with a computer had a choice in where to purchase textbooks, and students began purchasing textbooks online and saving money. Increasingly, students also began using the Internet to sell used college textbooks. It was during this time that CampusBooks.com emerged as a source for cheap textbooks. The problem was that there were so many new companies selling new and used textbooks, often with free shipping and no sales tax, that there were too many options to buy textbooks online.
Enter CampusBooks.com, which rose above the crowd by allowing students to search dozens of online bookstores for the lowest prices on new and used textbooks, and lets students sell used college textbooks direct to other students on the CampusBooks MarketPlace.
Suddenly, students could search millions of books from thousands of sellers in 3 continents to get the lowest prices on college textbooks, while also selling their used textbooks to other students for up to 200% more than textbook buyback. The Internet has been the best thing to happen to college textbooks, and only the future can tell how much more this amazing medium will change the industry.