Joining the ranks of Web commerce startups aimed at the college market, the Follett Corporation has started

The new site, which debuts just a few months after the launch of and, is a "portal" site, and will allow students to go to a generic Follett page, click on their school and order books for specific classes. Students can choose whether they want the book sent directly to them or made available at the Follett store for pickup.

About 450 Follett stores are currently included, and all 585 stores are expected to be part of the program by the end of the month. The site will list 110,000 titles, and orders will be fulfilled by the same River Grove, Ill., distribution center that handles fulfillment for Follett stores. The site g s live today, January 4.

Follett said it launched with the belief that college bookselling requires a far more specialized knowledge than trade bookselling. "The standard retailing model simply d sn't apply to textbooks, given that professors determine the required course materials," said James W. Baumann, president of Follett Corporation's Higher Education Group. The company will therefore include in its database lists and guides gathered by the brick-and-mortar stores.

The company is also soliciting partnerships with as many as 500 independent booksellers. These bookstores can list their titles in's database and sell books to students via In turn, Follett will receive a percentage of each sale. If the stores don't carry a particular title, Follett will ship it to students.

To promote the site, two 30-second spots are planned to air during today's Fiesta Bowl, college football's national championship game.