Foreword Online

Ideas, information and industry news for collegiate retailers



How the Cookie Crumbles: Sourcing Problems, and How to Avoid Them

Posted by Dean Asher on 9/15/16 8:42 AM
Topics: course material fulfillment

The college textbook industry is kind of like the weirdest cookie jar in history.

You've got publishers, the bakers creating the "cookies" or course materials — sometimes selling to you, other times directly selling to students. Then there are hundreds of resellers acquiring those cookies at used or wholesale value. After the cookies are placed in the cookie jar, there are thousands of other stores and sellers reaching in to get what they need.

How the Cookie Crumbles: The Problems of Sourcing, and How to Avoid Them

If you are sourcing on your own, you can easily only find "crumbs" in the cupboard.

The most sought-after books get scooped up early by people who have more time or resources devoted to sourcing, and what's left are more expensive new titles or lower-quality options that don't give you flexibility in helping students save. The result goes beyond losing market share in a single term: selling fewer books at rush means buying fewer books at buyback, which in turn means you have fewer used titles on hand to sell next term. So you're back to the cookie jar, where the cycle continues.

Admittedly, our metaphor falls short

  • You don't have to hunt down each cookie one chocolate chip at a time, or pay for third-party tools to streamline snacktime.
  • To purchase a dozen snickerdoodles, you haven't had to use your credit card to buy single cookies from 12 bakeries, wait for them to arrive at your store in individual shipments and deal with the headache of reconciling each receipt for your financial office.
  • Once you actually receive your cookies, you usually don't need to painstakingly inspect each and every one for imperfections and send back ones that don't meet your standards.

Buying cookies definitely doesn't take this much time or effort, but these are common problems stores experience when they have holes in their acquisitions from their primary textbook supplier. Why put up with it all?

With a stable wholesaler to help, you won't get crumbs

With access to a larger supply of used books, titles available for rental and other cost-saving alternatives, a partnership with a stable and experienced used textbook wholesaler that focuses on independent college stores can help you acquire more of what you need, sooner:

  • You'll be top priority for access to the titles and formats of your choice, meaning you can offer more used and rental books to keep students' costs down and increase your market share.
  • Your wholesaler can source titles on the marketplace giving you access to the widest selection of lowest-cost titles, all in one simple process.

Get a bigger cookie jar filled with more delicious cookies — and worry less about the competition getting their hands on them first. Why have it any other way?

About Dean Asher

Dean Asher is a former copywriter with MBS. Though he no longer writes for us, he is still proud of having helped this blog continue to evolve as an industry-leading resource of news and original content.

Related articles on Foreword Online

Article comments