MBS Textbook Exchange wants college kids to have some spending money at the end of each semester. In addition to distributing more than 120,000 titles of new and used textbooks, the company markets the point-of-service (POS) terminals that enable bookstores to sell books and buy them back. MBS also offers more than 25,000 e-book titles, and it provides an assortment of business services and products, including textbook rental program support, online buyback, mobile POS devices, and e-commerce applications. The company, founded in 1909 as The Missouri Store Company, serves college and university bookstores, vocational schools, and other higher education institutions, as well as private K-12 schools.
Most of textbook titles offered by MBS are in printed form, however, its e-book selection has been gaining ground. The company is banking on the US digital textbooks market to generate more than $1 billion in sales by 2014, up from about $55 million in 2010. Indeed, the increased popularity of digital reading devices -- such as Apple's iPad and Amazon's Kindle -- have boosted e-book sales in general, and MBS believes that digital textbook prices will further propel growth. Digital textbooks can cost some 70% less than their printed counterparts sold in bookstores. (Publishers have likewise taken notice of e-books because they offer printing cost savings and wider profit margins.)
MBS Textbook Exchange boasts a warehouse that spans nearly 350,000 sq. ft. and operates nonstop five days a week. MBS has the capacity to store about 6 million textbooks. Books are routed throughout the warehouse on three miles of conveyor belts, enabling the company to process roughly 5 million orders each year. Its bibliographic database contains more than 900,000 titles.
Sales and Marketing
The book distributor counts nearly 650 bookstores among those who use its MBS Systems.
Originally a dealer of school furniture and teacher supplies, the company adopted the MBS Textbook Exchange name in 1973. The new moniker coincided with the sale of MBS's retail stores to Barnes & Noble College Bookstores and shifted the focus of business to textbook wholesaling.