Follett Doubles Size of Rent-A-Text and Offers Smarter Digital Textbook With CafeScribe

Follett Higher Education Group is doubling the number of textbook titles available through its Rent-A-Text program this fall and launching a new version of CafeScribe® that gives students access to smarter digital textbooks. Through both programs, students across the country can save 50 percent or more when they purchase rental or digital books from Follett’s online or on campus bookstores.

“Student loans are now the largest category of unsecured debt in America, even surpassing credit cards,” said Tom Christopher, President of Follett Higher Education Group. “To help reduce the costs associated with higher education, we’re focused on delivering a spectrum of affordable choices so every student can be successful in the classroom.”

Rental is King for Savings

Follett’s Rent-A-Text provides savings of 50 percent or more compared to new textbook prices and has already saved students more than $130 million in just one academic year. By making more titles available, Follett expects to save students more than$200 million across its rental offerings during the 2011 academic year.

The program gives students the freedom to highlight and take notes all within the normal wear and tear associated with course work. It also allows students to apply their extra savings to other supplies and materials they need to be successful in the classroom.

Since launching Rent-A-Text in fall 2010, the company successfully implemented the program at more than 800 Follett-managed bookstores and its entire network of Canadian partners. The company’s strong footprint makes it the largest in-store and online rental provider in the industry. Students have expressed strong support for the program with 99 percent saying they would rent again from the bookstore.

CafeScribe Digital Textbooks

This fall, Follett announced a new version of its CafeScribe platform that makes digital textbooks smarter with better study tools, more accessibility on different types of devices and more book titles than ever before. CafeScribe digital textbooks are typically 40-60 percent less than the cost of a new textbook.

The enhanced product makes it easier to read, take notes, highlight and search within the digital textbooks. Students aren’t tied to a specific device and can read and study on Macs, PCs and most web-enabled devices like tablets and smartphones. Additionally, students have access to innovative technology for social note sharing, which allows them to swap their notes with peers and professors all within their textbooks.

CafeScribe digital textbooks are available at CafeScribe.com, Follett campus stores, independently managed bookstores and through efollett.com, the most visited-collegiate ecommerce site. To provide students the opportunity to experiment with digital for free, Follett is offering three day trials for most CafeScribe titles. The company created the Try Now, Buy Later program because it found that after using digital textbooks, two-thirds of students prefer the option to print.

Range of Purchasing Options

Follett also gives students more choices when it comes to how they pay for their course materials. The company allows students to pay for their books and supplies with financial aid and campus cards, which many online retailers do not. Follett’s network of campus stores offer greater convenience and reliability because students can either purchase their materials in-store or on efollett.com with store pick-up.

“By creating additional savings opportunities for students, rental and digital options are bringing customers back to campus stores,” said Christopher. “Our sell-through data tells us that this strategy is working and we’re optimistic it will continue to increase sales.”

“must have that STASH”

Follett is offering another opportunity for students to save even more on textbooks this fall with a text-to-win promotion called “must have that STASH.” Drawing on college student and pop culture’s rekindled love of all-things mustached, the contest asks students to text message a unique keyword, found on mustache game pieces available at Follett’s U.S. campus bookstores that offer Rent-A-Text, to TEXTBK. Participants will receive a text back with a game code which can be entered at musthavethatstash.com for a chance to instantly win $1,000 in cash, or a semester of textbooks from Follett, plus over 2,500 instant win gift cards to popular retailers, restaurants, and airlines.

For another chance to win, students can take photos of themselves sporting a mustache including the wearable mustache decal found on the game piece and post their photos to Facebook.com/Rent-A-Text. Visitors to the Rent-A-Text Facebook page will vote on their favorites, and the winner will receive $500 bookstore gift card to any bookstore operated by Follett. The second place runner up will receive a $250 bookstore gift card and the next 50 runner-ups will receive a “I ‘mustache’ you a question?” t-shirt. The contest runs until Sept. 30, 2011.

For the most up-to-date list of Follett-managed campuses and virtual bookstores offering Rent-A-Text, visit www.rent-a-text.com. For more information on CafeScribe, visit www.cafescribe.com.

About Follett Higher Education Group

Follett Higher Education Group of Oak Brook, Illinois, is the leading provider of bookstore services and the foremost supplier of used books in North America. Follett services five million students and over 400,000 faculty members through more than 850 stores. Follett also services more than 1,600 independent campus stores with its wholesale services, and has the most visited ecommerce collegiate website, efollett.com, that provides services and products through a network of more than 900 campus stores.

About Follett Corporation

Follett Corporation is a $2.7 billion, privately-held company that provides products, services and solutions to the educational marketplace. Follett Corporation was founded in 1873, and today is headquartered in River Grove, Illinois.