Amazon is Helping to Pop the College Textbook Bubble and College Bookstores Are Not Happy
Inside Higher Ed -- "College bookstores have been consistently losing ground to the Internet retail giant since it entered the textbook market. With its ability to buy in bulk, low overhead and employee costs, and partnerships with third-party sellers, Amazon has made itself one of the cheapest ways to get books and other retail goods.So to "level the playing field," the National Association of College Stores, which represents more than 3,100 college bookstores, has picked a fight with Amazon – the world’s largest bookseller – over advertising claims made by the Internet giant. The claims, which can all be found on Amazon's textbook page, are that individuals can "Save up to 90 percent on used textbooks," "Save up to 30 percent on new textbooks," and "Get up to 60 percent back when you sell."NACS and the 3,100 college bookstores it represents are threatened by the lower prices that Amazon offers students on the sale of textbooks, and the high prices it offers to buy back books. It is actively seeking to limit Amazon’s ability to advertise these prices." MP: The chart above shows the "college textbook bubble," which was partly the result of the fact that the "college textbook market that was virtually oligopolistic 15 years ago. Most college towns had only the college-run bookstore and one or two independent shops," according to the Inside Higher Ed article. Now that Amazon and other Internet booksellers allow students to compare textbook prices, the market has become “exceptionally competitive.” And the NACS of course would much prefer their old "cartel" status than face intense competition from Amazon.