Case | HBS Case Collection | February 2011

Chegg: Textbook Rental Takes Flight

by Thomas R. Eisenmann, William A. Sahlman and Evan W. Richardson

Abstract

In late 2010, Silicon Valley-based Chegg, the leading online college textbook rental company, is scaling rapidly. The case recounts Chegg's history from its origins as a distant competitor to Craigslist in college classified listings through a pivot into textbook rental followed by a period of explosive growth. Resulting challenges in scaling warehouse operations, customer service, and information technology are described, along with efforts to professionalize sourcing/pricing and product management functions. The case closes with questions about how Chegg should respond to the pending transition from printed textbooks to electronic textbooks.

Keywords: Change Management; Higher Education; Entrepreneurship; Books; Growth and Development Strategy; Growth Management; Service Operations; Renting or Rental; Online Technology; Education Industry; Service Industry; California;

Citation:

Eisenmann, Thomas R., William A. Sahlman, and Evan W. Richardson. "Chegg: Textbook Rental Takes Flight." Harvard Business School Case 811-077, February 2011.