A major part of a college student’s funds are spent on buying textbooks that are more often than not used for only one or two semesters, and this is where BookRenter jumps in. BookRenter is the Netflix equivalent for textbooks: students can sign up and ‘rent’ textbooks for a fraction of the price they would normally cost to buy. Members follow a simple process: the member searches by title or ISBN number and places an order by selecting the period they want to rent the book for and a delivery option – textbooks are mailed to students complete with a return label.
BookRenter just completed a Series B financing round in which it raised an additional $10 million in backing funds from Norwest Venture Partners with Adams Capital Management and Storm Ventures. This substantial backing comes despite two existing rivals, Chegg and Barns & Noble, but BookRenter thinks it has the advantage by offering flexible loan schedules and next-day delivery for most titles.
Where BookRenter really stands out is the fact that its platform is open to other websites, which lets any college or private business offer its own virtual textbook rental store. These partners have access to the same selection of books, which BookRenter electronically sources from the major textbook suppliers.
During the past two months BookRenter has activated websites for 75 bookstore partners which in aggregate serve 1.3 million students. Partner schools currently offering textbook rentals include the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Memphis, the University of San Diego and North Carolina State University.