Sidewalk Summit 2017




USERS GROUP - Wednesday, March 1st (Afternoon) | SUMMIT EDUCATION - Thursday, March 2nd (All Day)



For more information on the event, click here.

Important Update: In-Store Rentals

Sidewalk began renting books in-store in 2009. What seemed novel then eventually became mainstream, and we’re happy that the majority of stores today have brought some form of rental to students. We believe rental is a powerful tool to lower the cost of content, making content accessible to more students.

Rental has been an important part of Sidewalk. It has allowed us to get to know this industry and has ultimately led us to build even more products that we passionately believe address fundamental value opportunities for the college store. In-store rental has also had its downsides. Financing it has been painful. Timing and market volatility combined with too broad array of titles being returned to Sidewalk from stores, created sometimes unpredictable financial outcomes. What that has meant for our partners is unpredictability in the way we price rentals, how many titles we make available each semester, and how quickly we pay.

Although we fundamentally believe that every book available should be for rent, we’ve learned that we cannot guarantee every title ourselves because our ability to monetize many books after the rental cycle is negligible. As it turns out, Sidewalk alone is not large enough to consume the rental demand of our clients.

We pondered the problem at hand, desiring to create an outcome which aligned with our values and which would accomplish the following:

dot  Keep rental alive in-store, in a fully managed and risk-free fashion
dot  Provide a broader and more predictable title selection to our store partners
dot  Provide better pricing to students
dot  Increase the speed at which we could pay our store partners and increase our financial strength as a company
dot  Decrease inventory risk so we can focus on software and the user experience
dot  Bring the current textbook market dynamics to the store, not just our interpretation of it

The thinking around these desired outcomes led us to something we’re calling Cloud Rental. This is the new and sustainable way that Sidewalk is offering rentals to the market. Cloud Rental can be related to renting with rebates, but with some very important twists. For example: it remains a fully managed and risk-free program, and all rebate participants (vendors) are hidden from the store. It works like this:

Cloud Rentals

Sidewalk aggregates rebate lists from industry participants. (Eventually this could even include other schools who understand their future demand.) When you upload your rental list, it prices against this cloud of rebate prices available in Cloud Rental, delivering the best rental price it can, based on rebate prices available at the time. When students return books to your store at the end of the semester, you simply keep the ones you want to keep and send the rest to Sidewalk. Sidewalk then divides the books and ships them to the individual vendors who won the titles through their rebate offer.

Your store wins because more books get priced more competitively. This happens predictably, term after term, attracting more students and growing market share. Your risk decreases since rental is a reflection of a broad set of market activity, as opposed to the needs of a single vendor (Sidewalk - or any other vendor offering a single vendor solution). Sidewalk wins because we transfer much of the cost burden onto other participants who have specific need for titles, and who have the capability to monetize titles most profitably.

Over the next few months we will be modifying our internal workings to deliver a stronger, expanded catalog for the January rental season via Cloud Rental. We’re excited about rental, as we always have been. We believe it is a core value proposition that both students and administrations have come to expect, and it is our hope that these changes increase stores’ success with rental.

To learn more about Cloud Rentals, click here.


Nebraska Book Company And Sidewalk Announce Partnership

New Partnership Paves Way for Best-in-Class Software & Service for Independent Higher Ed Retailers

LINCOLN, Nebraska – June 27, 2016 — Nebraska Book Holdings, Inc. (NBC)* (OTC Pink: NEEB), a leading source of textbooks, rental program options and digital content delivery to over 2,000 independent college retailers across the country, and Sidewalk, a top provider of technology-enabled solutions within the same niche industry, today announced a new strategic partnership that will not only increase the affordability of course materials but also significantly improve the adoptions experience for independent college bookstores and campus faculty.

“Unification in our industry for the betterment of technology, quality and awareness of customer needs will improve the ecosystem for all independent college retailers,” said NBC’s Vice President of Product Management Pete Grenier. “Because Sidewalk shares our belief in the power of independent bookstores and shares our mission to support their success, it made sense to combine forces to ensure we provide only the highest-quality products and services available in the market.”

The partnership will allow both companies to focus their resources on what they each do best. Sidewalk will reduce their efforts toward the development and sale of Pro, its cloud-based point-of-sale (POS) system, in support of NBC’s complete multi-store inventory control and POS software, WinPRISM and PRISM360 products, which combine traditional and digital retail with mobile capabilities and touch-screen features. In kind, NBC will be scaling back the development of its textbook requisitions technology and plans to fully integrate Sidewalk’s adoption tool, Hero, into its industry-leading POS systems, resulting in an all-around improved experience for stores, faculty, and students.

Sidewalk’s Chief Executive Officer Alan Martin said, “Hero brings a fresh and practical approach to the course materials selection process and addresses the rising cost of content head-on, answering some of the biggest questions and challenges facing college stores and the future of content in higher ed today. When coupled with the sophistication and capabilities of Nebraska Book’s POS suite, stores will have the best of both technologies in one unified solution.”

Grenier added, “We’re making significant headway toward a promising and sustainable future for independent college retailers. In partnership with other industry experts like Sidewalk and by listening to our customers, we’re identifying gaps and addressing needs by finding workable, affordable solutions to ensure success in an ever-changing, challenging marketplace.”

More information about product availability will be provided later this year.

About Nebraska Book Holdings, Inc.

Nebraska Book Holdings, Inc., more commonly known as Nebraska Book Company, began in 1915 as an independent college bookstore and is now a key resources partner to over 2,000 independent college retailers nationwide. With its strategic business services and technology offerings, including localized e-commerce capabilities, back-end system access and support as well as textbook solutions, Nebraska Book Company is devoted to supporting and strengthening independent higher education retailers across the United States. For more information about Nebraska Book Company, visit

*Nebraska Book Holdings, Inc. common stock is not listed, traded or quoted on any U.S. stock exchange but is quoted on the OTC Pink Market under the symbol NEEB.

About Sidewalk

Sidewalk is a leading provider of technology-enabled content solutions for college stores and faculty. The company’s mission is to change the way content works in higher education, forever, by fundamentally changing the way it is discovered and distributed. Founded in 2007 by CEO Alan Martin under the name CampusBookRentals, the company quickly grew into a leading independent provider of textbook rentals—providing a flexible, convenient and economical alternative to buying textbooks for price-conscious students. Today, over 400 college stores (representing over 2 million students) nationwide have benefited from Sidewalk’s expanded in-store technologies. For more information, please visit


Julie Himmelberg

Jeff Bischoff

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