Amazon debuted a program that seemed both inevitable and unthinkable earlier this year, depending on your perspective, when it teamed with UC Davis for a unique school-specific storefront that provided a cut of sales to the school (2 percent to be exact). Amazon has partnered with Purdue University on a new storefront, out today. The program is designed to offer significant savings to students, Purdue says, while also providing a cut to the university to be fed into its affordability and accessibility undertakings.
The program at Purdue resembles the one at UC Davis that debuted at the beginning of the year, but with a twist: Amazon is also actually going to be staffing on-campus ‘store’ type locations, reserved for pick-up and drop-off of orders made through the Amazon Purdue store. Purdue students will also get more benefits as the year progresses, as they’ll get free one-day shipping on Purdue textbooks shipped to the campus area as of early next year, and also on items beyond textbooks when they’re shipped to the staffed pickup locations directly.
Overall, the goal from Purdue’s perspective is to save students up to 30 percent on their current textbook costs. The university found that students were spending over $1,200 a year on books alone, which amounts to 12 percent of Purdue’s tuition for in-state students. Amazon also offers rental options, digital formats, used book sales and what the University anticipates will be a higher buyback rate for old textbooks.
Amazon was once the ‘campus secret’ of students unwilling to pay the generally very high prices for textbooks in school-run bookstores, but these partnerships show how much the times have changed. Institutions are becoming less concerned about protecting their own retail efforts and more focused on cost-savings and making education more affordable for students. Amazon, in turn, gets to increase its presence and availability among university-aged shoppers, which helps build a long tail for building up Prime memberships.