Comparing book prices may sound like a good idea to save a few dollars on that bestseller you want to have on your shelf. But it may not be enough for the college students who struggle each semester to come up with a few hundred dollars for a new set of textbooks that University professors require to take their courses.
Students don’t have the money to buy textbooks, to attend the courses, to get a degree, to find a job, to earn the money as the result. Sounds like a chicken and egg problem, isn’t it? That is what Chegg is all about and that is where the name came from.
According to 2005 Government Accountability Office report textbook prices almost tripled between 1986 and the end of 2004 — rising by 186%. On the other hand teenagers and college students are probably the most active age group on the internet who are not afraid to try new things and experiment with new online services.
Chegg is the biggest of a several websites who try to monetize on this combination. The idea is very simple: build a community where college students can freely buy/sell used textbooks from each other and then use that community to make money by selling new textbooks and other merchandise. Here is how the marketplace works according to Chegg itself:
The diagram for non-students is slightly different and involves a small fee — one more way for Chegg to monetize the website which in turn has gained so much momentum that Chegg is receiving another round of funding ($2.2 million) from Gabriel Venture Partners and angel investor Mike Maples.
But the team didn’t stop at the local market of University campuses. They went further and have made it easy for the students to publish their books for sale at Facebook — the biggest high school and college oriented social network. Isn’t it smart?!
What can I say — where was I when it all started in 2001 at Iowa State by one of the university students? Wherever I was — it was the wrong place to be. ;-)
Source: Web Sites Challenge the Textbook Goliaths at BusinessWeek