The textbook rental rivalry between Chegg and BookRenter keeps heating up, with BookRenter raising $40 million in new venture funding from luminaries including Storm Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, Lighthouse Capital Partners, Comerica Bank, Focus Ventures, and Adams Capital Management. This brings their total war chest funding to $60 million in the race to become the leader in renting textbooks online.
Chegg and BookRenter have similar business models when it comes to renting books, but there are definitely some differences. Chegg appears to be expanding into student portal with their acquisition of CourseRank, while BookRenter has partnered with over 500 college bookstores in the United States of which there are over 6,000 college bookstores nationwide. These partnerships have allowed BookRenter to directly serve over six million college students or around 31 percent of the total college student population in the US. This allows students to utilize BookRenter’s RapidReturns service which allows students, who rented books, to return them to participating local campus bookstores. The bookstores benefit from increased buyback activity and merchandise activity, the students don’t have to worry about mail mishaps, and the environment wins by reducing the amount of waste normally generated by students mailing back individual books.
Today, BookRenter is announcing a partnership with The National Association of College Stores (NACS), which begin offering new BookRenter services to its 3,100 member book stores:
- RapidReturns: Allows students to drop-off textbook rentals at their local college bookstore
- BookRenter Local Warehousing: NACS stores will serve as local supply depots for BookRenter allowing faster delivery of rented books
- BookRenter Inventory Management and Fulfillment: NACS book stores will be able to sell directly to other from their own inventory, reducing overstock issues, and increasing supply of textbooks available for rent to students nationwide.
BookRenter’s strategy is paying off big with growth of over 725% last year, with estimated revenues of $20 to $50 million, though this is still lagging behind Chegg with projected revenues of $130 million for the same time period. There are other rapidly growing textbook rental companies like CollegeBookRenter, but the two giants BookRenter and Chegg are definitely the running for the crown – who do you think will win and why?