Feb 2, 2015 · 1 minute

University of Massachusetts Amherst announced today that it has partnered with Amazon to create a co-branded bookstore that could save its students $380 a year on textbooks while also making it easier to order and pick-up those gigantic tomes.

Besides offering lower prices than the existing campus bookstore, Amazon also plans to sell digital versions of many textbooks, and will offer same-day shipping to Amherst students who live on the university's campus or inside neighboring towns.

The university will collect a 2.5 percent commission on "most sales" to its students. It will also include Amazon's wares in its course-selection software to make it easier for students to learn how much a class' required texts cost before they enroll in it.

Amazon plans to open a campus store where students can order and pick-up items purchased from its digital marketplace some time in June. The company will staff the store itself -- and it might draw close scrutiny from Amherst when it does so.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Amherst had some misgivings about Amazon's business practices. The school liked Amazon's ability to bully other companies, but it was also worried about how the company's non-technical workers are treated:

[T]he committee expressed concerns about “how Amazon treats its warehouse and other clerical level workers,” including its “rather Taylorite efficiency measuring.” The latter was a reference to Frederick Taylor, a 19th-century engineer who studied factory workers with an eye to eliminating wasteful motions.
Apparently those concerns weren't bad enough to prevent Amherst from partnering with Amazon once they were weighed against the drop in textbook prices and the publicity (such as this blog post) attracted by working with a well-known company.

This arrangement follows similar partnerships forged with Purdue University and University of California Davis. Amazon has agreed to pay Amherst a minimum of $375,000, $465,000, and $610,000 in the first three years of this partnership.

[image via wikimedia]