February 15, 2002, 12:00 AM

Online college textbook sales triple at CampusHub

Dollar volume of college textbooks bought online at CampusHub, which operates web sites for 500 college bookstores in 47 states, will triple this year from last, reaching $5 million.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

 

Dollar volume of college textbooks bought online at Nebraska Book Co. Inc.’s CampusHub, which operates web sites for 500 college bookstores in 47 states, will triple this year from last, Michael J. Kelly, president of CampusHub, tells Internet Retailer. Students this school year will buy $5 million in textbooks online at CampusHub, up from $1.7 million last year, Kelly says.

The National Association of College Stores says U.S. and Canadian college students spent $75 million online on textbooks in the 2000-2001 school year. Kelly believes that CampusHub’s experience is typical of the industry and he says he would not be surprised if students’ online textbook spending triples to $225 million this year.

The spending is still only a tiny portion of the $10 billion that college students spend in campus bookstores annually. The association says that 93% of all college bookstores now sell online up from virtually none two years ago.

Nebraska Book Co., college textbook wholesaler, launched CampusHub in May 2000 in response to the rise of college textbook web sites such as BigWords.com and VarsityBooks.com. In the past year, it has doubled the number of bookstores using its services while the number of registered users has grown tenfold since September 2000.

"The CampusHub provides college bookstores with turnkey technology that allows them to create a Web site tailored to their local market," says Todd Robichaux, a partner in Haas Wheat & Partners, investors in Nebraska Book Co. "We knew immediately that the brand equity of the college bookstore would make this model successful." Another investor in CampusHub is MSD Capital L.P., the private investment firm for Michael Dell, founder of Dell Computers.

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