March 16, 2010, 12:00 AM

Follett gives independent bookstores their own online rental shops

The operator of college bookstores is launching an online affiliate program for independent bookstores.

Zak Stambor

Managing Editor

Follett Corp., an operator of college bookstores, is launching an online affiliate program for independent bookstores. Each independent bookstore will be able to set up a custom online store on the technology platform of online book rental service BookRenter.

By partnering with BookRenter, the bookstores will be able to offer students access to millions of rental titles without adding operational complexities, Follett says.

"Independently managed college bookstores are seeking ways to stay competitive and better serve their customers," says Thomas A. Christopher, president of Follett Higher Education Group. "Our unique rental offerings provide access to cutting-edge technology and Follett`s best-in-class resources to help students save millions of dollars on higher education costs."

With its online affiliate program, Follett manages operational tasks such as fulfillment and customer service, while the bookstore maintains ownership of the overall customer relationship, Christopher says.

Follett, No. 64 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, says the program guarantees bookstores a revenue share, though it does not reveal the split. It also allows the bookstore to serve as the "return depot," driving customers into their stores at the close of an academic term.

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