Amazon takes on textbook sales at major universities

Amazon is set to open distribution centers at two large US colleges and offer students next-day delivery of textbooks and other items through co-branded websites. The universities of Massachusetts Amherst and Purdue say that the deal means students will save nearly $400 annually on textbooks. Amazon is also giving the schools a 0.5-2.5 percent cut, which will net at least $1.7 million in revenue for Purdue and $1.5 million for UMass over four years, according to the WSJ. The Amazon distribution center will completely replace the UMass textbook annex, currently operated by educational specialist Follett. That store will no longer carry course materials, but will continue to sell computers, clothing and other items.

Students who subscribe to Prime at $49 per year (half the normal rate, with a free six-month trial available) will get free one-day deliveries at the centers, and students will be able to place orders at special stations. Amazon also opened a co-branded site at UC Davis, but is working with the existing bookstore and only offering locker pickup and two-day delivery for now. The distribution center at Purdue opens tomorrow, and the 3,000 square foot UMass facility will launch this June. You could buy the textbooks straight from Amazon, but why deny your school more of your hard-earned student loan money?

[Image credit: Associated Press]