Amazon Teams Up With Purdue University to Help Students Afford Books

August 14, 2014 - Written By Ray Greer

One of the biggest expenses college students face may not be the classes they’re taking, but the books needed for those classes instead. In fact, students at Purdue University spend over $1,200 each year on books alone. However, students have found ways around such high fees by renting books or going the e-book route on Amazon. That in mind, Amazon launched a program earlier this year with UC Davis to save students money on books. Now, Purdue University is joining UC Davis and teaming up with Amazon to cut costs for students.

The program that Amazon runs with UC Davis is a school-specific storefront that gives students discounts on the books they need. At the same time, the school gets a 2 percent throwback from Amazon on the sales made from the schools students. Now, Amazon has teamed up with Purdue University to run a very similar program for their students. One of the biggest differences is that Purdue University will get on-campus staffing from Amazon. This staff will help students pick-up and drop-off orders made through the physical ‘store’ location.

Purdue students will also be getting more benefits from the program due as time goes on. One example of planned benefits includes free one day shipping on textbooks shipped to areas on or around the Purdue campus. This benefit will also extend to items beyond textbooks as long as they’re shipped to a staffed ‘store’ location.

The goal of the program is to cut that $1,200/year average by 30 percent for students. Through the Amazon store, students will also be able to apply these benefits to virtual books, rentals, and used books. The used books program is a program the school hopes will increase the buyback rate for books. The money made by the school from the program is promised to go into the affordability fund. The affordability fund is used to help keep future tuitions as low as possible. The interesting part, is what this tells us about schools in the US.

Schools make a good amount of money in their on campus bookstores, and have been competing with Amazon for some time now. So a team up with their biggest competitor is an interesting statement by the schools. Showing that they do want to work with students to make things a bit easier financially for them. Tom Frey manages the University Bookstore at Purdue University. Frey says, “Our job is to look out for our students and their families and their budgets and more competition is going to be a very good thing for them.”