College textbooks and the search for value

I commented recently on Retail Wire about the consumer’s search for value extending to every area of retail that you can think of. One of the last frontiers for this trend is the textbook business, especially in college bookstores. As a parent of college students and a teacher of undergraduates, this is an issue close to my heart. Here’s my quick take:

The move toward value-oriented retail started long before the current recession. From warehouse clubs to discount stores to off-pricers, these types of stores have been taking market share from traditional outlets like department stores for many years. This trend is going to continue long-term and certainly will extend into categories (like textbooks) where traditional perceptions of value are being threatened by high prices as well as new technology.


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