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UPS Customer Helps Students See The Forest Through The (Rental) Fees

Could a pricing gun be wielded as a weapon? When I was a poor college student, I thought so every semester at book-buying time.

I knew $60 for the new edition of the medieval history textbook was a ripoff. As an honors student, I was pretty sure medieval history hadn’t changed in, like, a thousand years.

Then there was the business class where we had to buy a $50 textbook at the beginning of the semester – just to tide us over until the professor’s own text came out at mid-term, at another $50. The good news is, both books said pretty much the same thing, so at least our professor knew what he was talking about!

After tuition and living expenses, textbooks are often the single largest cost for college students. Hundreds of dollars a semester are the norm. One former Iowa State University student, Aayush Phumbrha, was so unhappy with the high cost of textbooks that he decided to do something about it. He launched a business.

In 2007, Phumbrha started Chegg.com, an online bookstore that allows students to rent textbooks rather than buy them. Phumbrha says that a $100 book typically rents for $35 to $45.

Chegg, number one in online textbook rentals, has a catalog of millions of books. They also feature fast shipping and free returns, provided by their friends at UPS.

Chegg established its main warehouse near Louisville International Airport in Shepherdsville, Kentucky to be in close proximity to UPS’s main air hub, Worldport. Chegg’s location allows it to deliver student’s orders quickly and efficiently within the requested shipping time.

And Chegg shares UPS’s passion for sustainability. Their bright orange boxes are reusable, and they plant a tree for every book purchased. To date, they’ve planted over 3 million trees worldwide tougher with their tree planting partner, American Forests.

All of those trees beg a philosophical question from my liberal arts education: If a tree doesn’t fall in the forest because a college student got a really good deal from an online textbook rental company, shouldn’t you look into how UPS can help you get your business idea out of the woods?

Want to learn more about Chegg and UPS? Check out this video we did last year.

Category: Business Insights
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