A way forward for the academic bookstore


BNED continues to struggle as it misses with non-traditional students at the community college level. Follett is their main bookstore competitor ith Amazon slowly building some management of stores themselves

There’s no reason to be swinging and missing on sales and earnings forecasts in a declining market with a high profit margin but it’s a treacherous path to providing educational services, online and off.

Book Driver is different in that we meet the tertiary students, those enrolled in technical/ community college where they are, namely Craigslist and Google search.


I don’t know much about BNED strategy moving forward although the mission seems good.

Whether it is good, I’d like to hear and see more. Operators of academic bookstores face a long-term timing issue and operating the brick and mortar and developing a digital sales machines doesn’t seem to be a longer term capability in the here and now.

Book Driver is more interested in providing

+ cheaper rentals

+ longer returns on used books

+ buyback all the time

+ materials to local, profit and private universities

The 2nd & Charles models is also a huge source of inspiration for buying, selling, trading educational materials as many people will donate or trade materials if you have a good process.

The truth is that classes start and end all the time, and non-traditional students of which there might be 6 million of the 10 million US colleges students, deserve something more than what they get.

BNED’s more of a holding company now then a software developer now that its platforms have been closed and they have purchased a third party platform for digital materials.

Just not sure how robust they and fellow brick and mortar company, Follett, can really compete with Amazon, Chegg and publisher direct solutions although McGraw Hill and company do their damndest to make it hard to order and at hugely inflated prices for backlist.

And from the other side are peer-to-peer solutions, like Book Driver, Student2Student and old guard helpers like Craigslist which are squeezing so much cost out of exchanging books and other materials.

My take is that the academic bookstore needs to be an all the time thing for a non-traditional student base. The peer to peer solution benefits from being freely shared and free from publisher entanglements.