Barnes & Noble partners with Flashnotes to beef up college business

Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) announced Monday that it has invested in Flashnotes, an online study materials marketplace. The move is intended to help the retail chain further build out its college business before it opens up into an independent branch.

As part of the deal, both companies will enter into a Strategic Alliance Agreement, through which Barnes & Noble will promote Flashnotes on its digital platforms and at partner schools. Both businesses hope the move will help get students more engaged in their own education.

"One of the key objectives of the planned separation of Barnes & Noble Education, comprising the Barnes & Noble College business, from Barnes & Noble Inc., is to pursue strategic opportunities in the growing educational services markets, and our investment in is consistent with that objective," Max Roberts, CEO of Barnes & Noble Education, said in a statement. "Together, Barnes & Noble College and can directly impact student success through a mutual partnership that aligns the student learning and studying experience with a built-in support system, while showcasing the campus bookstore as an important student resource."

The book chain announced the separation of Barnes & Noble Education from its retail and Nook business late last month. In its filing, the company pointed out that there are around 4,500 bookstores affiliated with universities around the country, bringing in $10.5 billion in sales in 2012. The retailer will be trying to make headway in a highly fragmented market, aiming to consolidate and grow the 714 stores in its college bookstore group.

Barnes & Noble isn't the only major retailer looking to get a share of the college bookstore business. Early last month, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) announced a deal of its own with three universities that will allow the company to operate co-branded websites with the schools, offering delivery of textbooks, apparel and other items.

For more:
-See this Barnes & Noble press release
-See this Wall Street Journal story

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