WalMart.com Debuts College Textbooks

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Walmart.com yesterday announced its foray into the college textbook market.


The Web division for the world's largest retailer has extended a relationship with books retail firm Books-A-Million Inc., which has supplied Walmart.com with novels and other literary books in the past.


Terms of the relationship were not disclosed.


Books-A-Million operates 202 retail stores and has been running an e-commerce initiative since 1999. It will fulfill Walmart.com orders out of its warehouse near Books-A-Million headquarters in Birmingham, AL.


Meanwhile, many dot-com college textbook entries such as Textbooks.com and Varsity.com have failed.


However, Walmart.com believes that its new initiative is a low-risk situation because it does not have to undertake fulfillment and inventory expenses while leveraging its strong brand.


"One of the reasons we got into textbooks is because our customers were asking for it," said Cynthia Lin, a spokeswoman for Walmart.com. "We received a ton of e-mail from people requesting that we add this service."


The marketing done to support the channel during this back-to-school period has yet to be decided, although it did receive high-visibility treatment at the www.walmart.com home page this week, Lin said.


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