Below is a copy of the joint press release issued today by CCRA, ICBA, and NMS (acronyms defined below). In addition, a short article appears in this morning's Campus Marketplace on this news announcement.
Re-defining Academic Support for Students and Faculty
With New Digital Content Platform
NACS Media Solutions and Canadian Campus Retail Associates introduce
digital content platform as part of joint development agreement.
OBERLIN - - September 18, 2009 - -NACS Media Solutions LLC (NMS) today announced a joint development agreement with the Canadian Campus Retail Associates Inc. (CCRA) for co-development and deployment of a common digital content platform (DCP) for electronic books and print-on-demand content., designed with student friendly terms and reflecting the academic nature of the collegiate marketplace. This agreement represents a new benchmark for industry collaboration, and provides college stores in North America the opportunity to make use of a “best of class” e-book delivery platform that is scalable to store volumes, can accommodate full integration to other store systems, and is wholly-owned by college stores.
The content management and delivery platform was originally developed by the 100-year old student-owned bookstore at Queen’s University at Kingston, Ontario, Canada. The platform was further refined and scaled for deployment at over 20 college stores in Canada that comprise the CCRA. These stores will serve as the initial test market for the platform during the 2009 fall academic term. Based upon their results and feedback NMS will work in collaboration with CCRA on further enhancements, as well as the plan for a more broad-based pilot in the United States involving member stores of the Independent College Bookstore Association.
Selected members of the Independent College Stores Association (ICBA) have made significant contributions to many of the technical features and business principles that are incorporated into the platform to enable a large-scale deployment in the US. “The support of ICBA is an integral and valued piece of what will make the NMS-CCRA relationship successful. Their member stores, like those in the CCRA, demonstrate innovation and commitment to student access and affordability of course materials. The collective contributions of all three organizations will accelerate the industry’s ability to demonstrate capability and credibility of college stores as a vital channel for the delivery of digital course materials.” said Ed Schlichenmayer, NMS President and Chief Operating Officer.
“ICBA is excited to have played a part in the development and implementation of the DCP, and to share in this dynamic new level of collaboration of organizations prepared to think and act in new ways. ICBA has come to recognize CCRA as the leading industry organization in terms of web-based solutions for college stores. This was matched by NMS’s initiative, commitment and determination to advancing digital solutions for the industry. We are on the threshold of a new era in collegiate retailing” said Stacy Waymire, ICBA Executive Director.
The launch of DCP will include three levels of service to college stores, including a generic solution, a customized white-label “two cart” service, and a technical package that can be fully integrated to existing store systems. In the near future, web services and tools will be available to faculty to assist in the conversion of course packs, creation of digital course materials, and the review and adoption of faculty-authored, university press, and other publishers’ content.
The DCP content repository presently contains a collection of digital study versions which are mapped to thousands of conventional titles currently used at most North American universities and colleges. These study versions, trademarked as DSVs, have been produced in the EPUB format, enabling them to be reflowable and viewable on most mobile reading devices such as the Sony Reader. The Digital Content Platform is powered by Adobe, supports both rights-controlled (DRM) and rights-free (DRM Free) content, in EPUB or PDF formats, and is both Mac and PC compatible. All well known delivery models, such as free distribution, for-fee sales, term rental, and subscriptions, are accommodated by the DCP with royalty and transaction reconciliation.
“We are challenged by the digitization of our business processes at the same time as our primary product is digitized. We find ourselves competing for the distribution of new products in new ways. We need to deploy capable and credible solutions which are scalable across stores of all sizes and technical sophistication so that college stores remain relevant in the digital distribution channel,” said Chris Tabor, Director Queen’s University Bookstore, and President of CCRA.
NACS Media Solutions LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the National Association of College Stores and is headquartered in Oberlin, OH, USA. Founded in 2008, NACS Media Solutions and its network of partners develops and supports technology and content solutions that enable collegiate retailers to become an effective and vibrant channel for the delivery of digitally-enhanced products and services, helping to support faculty choice and redefining the learning experiences of college students. Contact: Ed Schlichenmayer, President and Chief Operating Officer; 800-622-7498 ext. 2250 or e-mail to: email@example.com.
Canadian Campus Retail Associates Inc is a private Canadian corporation jointly owned by 22 Canadian college stores. Created in 1998, CCRA stores share in the design, development and deployment of technologies and applications relevant in the college store and academic publishing markets. Contact: Chris Tabor, President; 613-533-6000 ext. 74993 or e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Independent College Bookstore Association is a rapidly growing retail cooperative of independent and institutional college bookstores (no leased or private stores) that is a premier organization in the bookstore industry. This nonprofit mutual benefit corporation is owned by its member stores, which are located throughout the United States and Canada. The mission of ICBA is to provide the programs and services that will establish the institutional store model as the preferred management solution for higher education. Contact: Stacy Waymire, Executive Director; 541-488-2591 or e-mail to: StacyWaymire@ICBAinc.com.