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Collegiate Retail Alliance and CaféScribe Announce Partnership

College Store Business Coalition and eBook Marketer Team Up to Offer eBook Digital Delivery and Social Networking Capability

Plymouth Meeting, PA, April 30, 2009--The Collegiate Retail Alliance (CRA), a coalition of independent college stores that shares and deploys the industry’s best business practices, and CaféScribe, the industry’s leading eBook marketplace and student social network, announced today a partnership that enables users of CRA’s VisualRATEX™ inventory management and point-of-sale system to offer CaféScribe products and services.

CRA members are large, independent college retailers that deliver higher value to the colleges they serve by collaborating on best practices, maximizing their collective buying power, and achieving supply chain efficiencies. CRA partners with top industry suppliers and has an innovative Millennium Partnership with the Follett Higher Education Group (FHEG) to collaborate on a wide range of high-yield business opportunities. FHEG is the parent company of Fourteen40, which provides CaféScribe.

CaféScribe takes electronic books to the next level through collaborative note-sharing networks, powerful content indexing tools, and the most intuitive reading interface in the market. CaféScribe enables college stores to offer eBooks from a large selection of publishers without inventory costs, with FHEG handling customer support. For college students, CaféScribe saves money and lets students take advantage of the digital format for sharing and group work, extending faculty and student collaboration beyond the classroom. Students get to keep their work after the class, since CaféScribe eBooks don’t expire.

CaféScribe’s products and services have been integrated with VisualRATEX, the inventory management and point-of-sale system developed by RATEX Business Solutions (RBS), which is wholly owned by CRA member stores. VisualRATEX now accommodates the purchase of eBooks, a feature also incorporated in the new eRATEX web store RBS will roll out later this year.

“CaféScribe offers students exceptional choice and value in course materials and social networking capabilities,” stated Richard W. McDaniel, CRA President and Chairman. “Our new partnership with this eBook and social networking innovator demonstrates our ongoing commitment to helping our member stores develop and deploy the industry’s most successful business practices. We also are very pleased to be broadening our strong partnership with Follett Higher Education Group, which shares our determination to ensure the continuing success of college stores.”

“The independent college stores of the Collegiate Retail Alliance are among the most prestigious and influential in the industry,” said Fred Weber, Senior Vice President, Follett Higher Education Group. “We are proud to join forces with these forward-thinking retailers to influence how our industry responds to a rapidly changing marketplace. Through the CRA-Follett Millennium Partnership and now through CaféScribe, both our organizations are strengthening their leadership positions and helping shape the future of collegiate retailing.”

About the Collegiate Retail Alliance

Founded ten years ago by five of the nation’s largest independent college stores, the Collegiate Retail Alliance (CRA) is a business coalition that shares and deploys the industry’s best business practices. Now numbering over 50, CRA member stores have combined annual revenues of nearly $1 billion.

The organization’s wholly owned software company, RATEX Business Solutions (RBS), produces VisualRATEX™, the most comprehensive college store operating system and the only one owned and designed in part by collegiate retailers. In addition to CafeScribe, CRA partners with leading suppliers such as Follett Higher Education Group, NACSCORP, CourseSmart, and Ingram Book Company.

CRA recently was awarded the 2009 Leveraging Excellence Award from the National Consortium for Continuous Improvement in Higher Education (NCCI) for its development of VisualRATEX.

For more information, visit the Collegiate Retail Alliance website at

About Follett Higher Education Group

Follett Higher Education Group of Oak Brook, IL, is the leading provider of bookstore services and the foremost supplier of used books in North America. Follett services five million students and over 400,000 faculty members through more than 800 stores. Follett also services more than 1,600 independent campus stores with its wholesale services, and has the most visited ecommerce collegiate website,, that provides services and products through a network of more than 900 campus stores. Follett is the parent company of Fourteen40, which provides CaféScribe, an eBook marketplace and social network that enables students to study smarter and faster.

For more information, visit or

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