With the high cost of textbooks, seemingly impervious to the democratizing influence of the Internet, textbook rentals are on the rise. Now a forward-thinking online textbook rental company, founded by then university student Alan Martin in 2007, is poised to further expand its market share in the emerging textbook rental market with the first white-label university partnership program in the market. Beginning in the 2011-12 school year, CampusBookRentals.com will place online kiosks at university campuses throughout the U.S.
The company also has a compelling founding story. Wrestling with the prohibitive cost of textbooks—which rose at twice the rate of inflation from 1986 to 2004—Martin experienced firsthand the need for a cost-effective solution. Without ready access to venture funding, he and a few co-founders hit on the highly entrepreneurial solution of cobbling together their start-up capital exclusively with credit cards. Since then, the company has risen to become the third-leading company in the textbook rental market, and grew more than 200 percent in the past year.