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.

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