Purdue and Amazon have launched the Purdue Student Store on Amazon, a new, co-branded experience where students can purchase lower-cost textbooks and other college essentials.
And for the first time ever, Amazon also will bring staffed customer order pickup and drop-off locations to Purdue’s campus, as well as expedited shipping benefits phased in over the course of the 2014-2015 academic year.
The Purdue Student Store on Amazon, found at purdue.amazon.com, launched Tuesday (Aug. 12). The first campus pickup location is expected to be open in early 2015.
“This relationship is another step in Purdue’s efforts to make a college education more affordable for our students,” said President Mitch Daniels. “With the pressure on college campuses to reduce costs, this new way of doing business has the potential to change the book-buying landscape for students and their families.”
Daniels noted that books are the third biggest expense for college students. The university has addressed tuition with a three-year freeze and has reduced room-and-board costs by 5 percent two years in a row.
Student affordability and accessibility is a key component of Purdue Moves, a range of initiatives introduced by Daniels to broaden Purdue's global impact and enhance educational opportunities for its students.
“For years we’ve offered students low prices on everything from textbooks to electronics to dorm essentials on Amazon.com,” said Amazon Vice President of Media and Student Programs Paul Ryder. “We’re teaming up with Purdue to bring students staffed, on-campus pickup locations and benefits like Amazon’s Free One-Day Shipping on textbooks, making the college student store experience more affordable and convenient.”
Through the Purdue Student Store on Amazon, students can purchase or rent new and used print textbooks, as well as buy and rent Kindle eTextbooks. Students and others who enter the online store also will find the same prices, selection and shopping experience as on Amazon.com.
Amazon will return a percentage of eligible sales through the Purdue Student Store on Amazon to the university, including sales to faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the university. Purdue will use the proceeds for its student affordability and accessibility initiatives.
More benefits will roll out over the course of the academic year. By early 2015, all Purdue students will be eligible for Free One-Day Shipping on Purdue textbooks shipped to the West Lafayette campus area. Additionally, Amazon Student members at Purdue will be eligible for Free One-Day Shipping on hundreds of thousands of additional products when shipped to the campus pickup location.
Ryder said the pickup locations will meet the unique needs of students. “They will offer a secure and convenient option for receiving packages from Amazon, as well as a hassle-free way to return textbook rentals and other orders from Amazon. We’ll also offer our Amazon Student members even faster shipping on hundreds of thousands of products when picked up from one of our locations on campus.”
Amazon Student is a membership program created especially for college students, which offers Amazon’s Free Two-Day Shipping program for six months, and then 50 percent off Prime. More information on Amazon Student is available at purdue.amazon.com/joinstudent.
The Purdue-Amazon relationship follows a year of work by a Purdue committee looking at ways to cut the cost of textbooks, said Frank Dooley, interim vice provost for undergraduate academic affairs.
“According to the College Board, students at four-year public institutions spend more than $1,200 a year for class materials,” Dooley said. “That’s roughly 12 percent of Purdue’s in-state tuition.”
Dooley said the committee looked at several options before deciding on Amazon.
“We feel Amazon is right for Purdue for two reasons: Amazon doesn’t force students or instructors into any one format, offering print and digital, buying and renting, new and used. And the potential savings is about 30 percent a year on textbooks for our students.”
Dooley said the committee also found that Amazon’s buyback rate for used textbooks is projected to be higher, which would create additional savings for students.
The Purdue Student Store on Amazon is the second co-branded university program. An online student store was established at the University of California, Davis, last fall.