Nebraska Books and CourseSmart announced a new partnership in a press release that came out earlier this week. CourseSmart is, of course, the multi-publisher venture to deliver e-books. Nebraska Books is one of the larger contract management or "leasing" companies operating in the college store industry. Nebraska Books also provides a range of other services to non-leased stores, such as buying and providing used books.
One of the services Nebraska Books provides is called Jumpbooks. Among the first widespread offerings for delivering digital course materials through stores, Jumpbooks provide a lower cost option for students while allowing stores to maintain the customer relationship and brand viability.
The partnership with CourseSmart enables Nebraska Books to gain access to a much larger inventory of digital content from the publishers. In addition, it provides a channel by which the stores can maintain ownership of the digital transaction. That is a significant accomplishment. This partnership also demonstrates that stores and publishers can work effectively together to define new relationships based on existing and new value propositions.
It is my understanding that CourseSmart is in conversation with other leading digital delivery service providers within the college store industry. We should expect to see more offerings and potential solutions in the months ahead. On the whole this development should be viewed as positive for the industry and students as it provides another lower-cost way to get access to a larger inventory of digital content backed by the convenience and authentication* that stores provide.
* By authentication, I mean verifying that the content students purchase through the store have been verified as the correct materials the faculty member requested for a course.