Blackboard, a learning management system that provides the online educational environment for many higher educational institutions, plans to launch an online bookstore for its platform. The company will begin limited trials this spring and plans a full launch of the online stores by summer 2014.

The company is launching the online store in an effort to streamline and personalize the experience of adding e-books and other digital course materials to their individual Blackboard accounts. According to information released by Blackboard, the new store will be accessible with the Blackboard LMS and allow students to see the various materials professors have assigned for their particular courses. The online store will also students to either buy or rent the materials.

The bookstore functionality will be powered by MBS Direct, a vendor that supplies online bookstore infrastructure. The company works with more than 900 higher ed and K-12 around the country and specializes in providing retail platforms for the educational marketplace.

Blackboard CEO Jay Bhatt said the new Blackboard retail functionality streamlines a formerly cumbersome process and is “the latest step in our evolution of creating a comprehnsive learning experience. The traditional process for students to buy course materials is not an easy one. We are excited to provide a new content distribution concept that offers a simple, easy and highly personalized experience to the student."