A textbook price-comparison browser extension developed by textbook price finding site Texts.com has come under fire from textbook publisher Follett. This extension, “Occupy the Bookstore,” sits in a user’s browser and pops up less-expensive alternative purchasing sites when the user is visiting some online textbook store. Follett asked Texts.com to remove the extension because it draws sales away from stores Follet supplies.
Texts.com has no intention of dropping the extension. They believe Follet does not have a case, because the price-comparison plug-in does not actually interact with the stores’ web sites; it interacts with data on the customer’s browser after it has been downloaded.
As you might expect, this pressure has accomplished one thing: it’s made a lot more people aware of Occupy the Bookstore. Texts.com’s founders noted that, after the added publicity from the legal threat, it went from 200 downloads over several months to 15,000 downloads in just a few days. Wonder if Follett publishes any textbooks that cover the Streisand Effect?