Follett to Acquire BetterKnow to Streamline Paper, Digital Texts

Follett Corp is announcing its intention to purchase BetterKnow Inc, a web-based provider of higher education tools and academic materials. BetterKnow is a clearinghouse of information on course materials from colleges and instructors including required textbooks, and allows students to purchase those materials at one place online rather than going through their college bookstore.

A portion of the sales revenue goes back to the home institution. BetterKnow is an excellent purchase for Follett, as it fills out their portfolio of college stores on college and university campuses across the country. The acquisition is expected not only an opening to an online marketplace for Follett, but also to offer better pricing and selection to Follett’s current clients.

BetterKnow’s products, combined with Follett’s physical and online stores on more than 1,000 college and university campuses in North America, are expected to offer instructors and students broader access to course materials, says Follett, parent of Follett Higher Education Group, No. 67 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. Follett plans to roll out the integrated Follett-BetterKnow course material technology to institutions and campuses in the fall.

Instructors will be able to select which course materials they plan to require students to obtain from a variety of sources, including traditional textbooks, digital materials, open source content and videos. They will be able to read reviews and collaborate with their peers teaching the same subject across institutions.

Students will be able to use the eFollett portal to purchase their course materials and will be able to do price comparisons across various formats and channels. They will also have a chance to select their delivery method – traditional or digital – and thanks to the presence on campus of a Follett retail location, the purchases could be coordinated directly through the students’ financial aid accounts.

According to Mary Lee Schneider, president and CEO of the Follett Group, the integration of BetterKnow technology and platform will allow the company to streamline the way the company is currently delivering digital and physical academic content.

The BetterKnow acquisition will also support Follett’s includED program, which provides course materials as part of an institution’s tuition or fees, Follett says. The program, which has been tested and is ready for roll out this spring, is designed to help students conveniently obtain all of their required course materials.

“BetterKnow’s technology will help us more efficiently integrate access to content with student information systems at our partner schools,” says Tom Christopher, president of Follett Higher Education Group.