Chegg Goes Beyond Textbook Rentals for College Students

College students who want to save money on textbooks should be familiar with a website called Chegg, where the main draw is low-cost new and used textbooks and textbook rentals. Now, however, Chegg has decided to branch out beyond the service for which it is best-known to provide additional services for college students, according to a recent article in the Huffington Post. Those services will include digital textbooks, a class and professor rating service, a marketplace for notes and study guides, and an online study community that helps college students with their homework, the article explained.

Chegg made the additions after acknowledging that online textbooks, or e-textbooks, are quickly becoming the wave of the future. Chegg’s CEO predicted in the article that by 2015, a quarter of all textbooks sold would be digital, and it appears his online business wanted to get on board with this transition. Digital textbooks are available now on Chegg. The other three services that Chegg is integrating into their site are the result of the company’s acquisition of three other online haunts for college students — CourseRank, Notehall, and Cramster, the article noted.

By making these changes, Chegg is hoping to become not only a one-stop-shop for college students looking for textbooks and e-textbooks, but also a place students can turn to again and again for other helpful resources. In other words, there are now other reasons to come to the site besides just buying textbooks, the article explained.

Because of all the additional features — from homework help to note-sharing to professor and course rankings — the company’s CEO hopes that the site will emerge as a sort of "LinkedIn for college students," the article noted. However, Chegg still has a long way to go before the students who currently use the site are connected in the same way professionals are though the social network LinkedIn. In the future, Chegg may also face fierce competition from larger players in the field, such as Amazon, Google, or Apple, when it comes to sales of e-textbooks, the article pointed out.

However, the new additions do show promise. Using Notehall, bright students can sell their notes and study guides to other students having a difficult time in class or to students who missed a few classes and need to get caught up. The homework help feature helps students who are stumped in areas as diverse as mathematics, English, engineering, business, and science, to name a few. And course and professor rankings have always been popular, as students always want to know which courses will be enjoyable and educational and which ones will be boring, overly difficult, or a waste of time. It is features such as these that could help Chegg remain competitive, even if other sites offer similar services in the areas of e-textbook sales and textbook rentals.

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