RealTime IT News

VarsityBooks.com

VarsityBooks.com is selling at near-death levels. Yet, it could hold some attraction to other etailers.

Selling books on the Web. Suicidal, huh? Selling anything seems to be a bad idea. Well, there is a brave company called VarsityBooks.com that, yes, sells books on the Web. It even was able to go public recently.

The NASDAQ massacre had no mercy for VarsityBooks.com. After reaching a high of $13-1/8, the stock is now selling at 1-23/32. The stock hit a low of 21/32.

The business is really simple: Sell books to college students. Although, the company does have creative strategies. One is to use student reps to sell books. After all, students are basically poor and look for ways to make extra money. Why not get a cut on book sales to fellow students? These students have to buy books anyway. So far, VarsityBooks.com has amassed a student rep network of over 2,700.

The college demographic is a sought-after market, with spending power of $105 billion annually. It is difficult to target, yet VarsityBooks.com is creating a valuable database. VarsityBooks.com is the most-visited college site, with one million unique visitors in January (which is the back-to-school month).

Already, VarsityBooks.com has been making attempts to monetize the demographic. The company has signed deals with Staples.com, MVP.com, REI, Time Inc. and so on.

VarsityBooks.com has been growing its revenues. In the last quarter, revenues were $12.2 million, compared to $1.3 million in the same quarter a year ago. The revenues were higher than analysts' $10.5 million estimate.

Currently, VarsityBooks.com has a market capitalization of $27 million. Money in the bank? It's about $29 million. In other words, Wall Street is valuing the company at about zero. Of course, this is somewhat misleading, since the company does have a substantial burn rate. But I would not be surprised that the company engages in cost-cutting and strive for break-even much earlier. Although I'm sure their real hope is that someone will eventually buy the company.