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Has the Redbox of Textbooks Finally Arrived?

Startup Packback's rental service provides bold, affordable eTextbook option

CHICAGO and PASADENA, Calif., March 25, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today's students face many financial barriers to success in higher education- skyrocketing tuition, inflated textbook costs, and debilitating student debt to name a few.  Two tenacious entrepreneurs, Mike Shannon and Kasey Gandham, have developed an ingenious way of addressing these problems.

Packback recently took their startup textbook rental service to the national level, braving the rough waters of ABC's "Shark Tank" before a televised audience of more than 8 million viewers.  Last Friday, Shannon and Gandham successfully pitched their grassroots, short-term textbook rental model to the "Sharks" winning over American investor Mark Cuban and connecting with countless new students.

"As a result of the episode, we've had literally thousands of new visitors and users signing up for the Packback service," Gandham stated on Sunday.  "We have also seen a huge influx of Campus Ambassador applications - students motivated to launch Packback on their respective campuses by a shared passion for promoting affordable education."

On the heels of their successful venture into the turbulent waters of "Shark Tank," philanthropist Dr. Gary Michelson's 20 Million Minds Foundation (20MM), which is always in search of pioneering, cost-saving measures for students, has partnered with Packback to help reduce financial burdens while ensuring access to the textbooks students need to be successful in their courses. 20MM will also be working with Packback to deliver open textbooks to students courtesy of OpenStax College, an open textbook initiative out of Rice University that Dr. Michelson helped fund.

Launched last year, Packback aims to bridge the growing gap between online textbooks and the publishing industry. Their platform allows students to rent digital textbooks for $5 or less a day. "We provide the bridge to this next-wave digital learning future," said Shannon in a recent interview with the Chicago Tribune. "To get that demand to come organically from the students, we're...lowering the barrier with the pricing point first."

"We have a fascinating marriage of technology and grassroots activism here that is a solid solution to helping students break through the prohibitive cost of higher education while still providing an entire industry an option to remain relevant," said Dean Florez, President & CEO of The Michelson 20 Million Minds Foundation.

Packback's catalog of $3 to $5 digital textbook rentals spans 2,500+ titles from several major participating publishers and is increasing every month as their network of publishers, partners, and students continue to grow.

About Packback
Packback is a Chicago-based education-technology startup redefining the textbook industry for students, publishers, and professors. Founded by students while backed by notable angel investors in education and digital-media, Packback's vision is to create textbook solutions that work for students today while laying a strong foundation for a digital future.
www.PackbackBooks.com  |  @PackbackBooks  |  https://www.facebook.com/packbackbooks

About 20MM
Dr. Gary Michelson's 20 Million Minds Foundation (20MM) is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing higher education into the digital age through public and private partnerships that increase access, affordability, and student success. 20MM and its initiatives are made possible by the generous support of Dr. Gary Michelson and his wife, Alya Michelson. Visit www.20MM.org, follow us @20MillionMinds, and subscribe to our videos on the Michelson 20 Million Minds' YouTube Channel

Tags: higher education,  higher learning, higher ed, textbooks, online textbooks, ebooks, etextbooks, Packback, Packbackbooks, textbook rentals, textbook buyback, textbook rental program, The Michelson 20 Million Minds Foundation, Michelson's 20 Million Minds, Michelson's 20MM, 20 Million Minds, 20MM, Twenty Million Minds Foundation, Dr. Gary Michelson, Alya Michelson, Dean Florez, student savings, digital textbooks, student loans, textbook affordability, textbook publishers, textbook sales.  

Contact: Reid Milburn, 916-969-6171

SOURCE The 20 Million Minds Foundation

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