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Posted at 9:23 AM ET, 05/10/2010

Va. college offers rent-a-textbook

By Washington Post editors


The College of William & Mary's bookstore will offer a textbook-rental program starting in the upcoming school year.

The college said in a release that the program will allow students to rent their books for less than half the cost of buying a new printed textbook. Students will be able to rent their books in the campus store or from the store's website.

William & Mary will jointly run the program with its campus bookstore operator, Barnes & Noble College Booksellers. The book-retailing giant began piloting its rental program earlier this year at three of its 636 campus bookstores, and now operates the program at more than 25 campuses nationwide.

Students can highlight or mark up the rented books just as they would if they purchased the books and planned to sell them back to the bookstore. They also can convert their rental to a purchase during the first two weeks of class.

A handful of other companies are getting into the textbook-rental business. Follett Higher Education Group, one of the biggest college bookstore operators, also started a textbook rental program that's expanded to hundreds of campuses nationwide.

Online sites such as Chegg.com and academic publishers such as Cengage Learning also started rental programs last year.

This post has been updated since it was originally posted.
-- Associated Press

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The books would be rented by the semester, and they would be due back at the bookstore no later than 10 days after the last day of finals. Students can return the books in person or mail them to the bookstore.

A handful of other companies are getting into the textbook-rental business. Follett Higher Education Group, one of the biggest college bookstore operators, also started a textbook rental program in the fall and said this month it is expanding it to about 22 campuses.

Online sites such as Chegg.com and academic publishers such as Cengage Learning also started rental programs last year.

-- Associated Press

By Washington Post editors  | May 10, 2010; 9:23 AM ET
Categories:  Virginia  | Tags:  Chegg, Textbook  
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Comments

I seem to remember being able to buy used books at reduced cost at my college bookstore back in the late 80's/early 90's. Which would then get sold back again at the end of the semester.

How is this different? Is the cost difference that much bigger that this is desirable? All I can see is another administrative cost...

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | May 10, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

I just finished by BS at ODU in December. The cost differential is HUGE!! When you buy and then sell back a book, they give peanuts. Buying a used book is not much more of a bargain.

Example - my employment law book was $190 (or $185 I can't remember) to buy. I looked on Amazon, B&N, Borders, etc. - all were pretty much the same price.

It was $90 to rent. I can promise you if I purchased the book, I would have gotten $30 tops when selling it back - costing me WAY more than $90 rental fee.

In 2009, I rented my books from Chegg. The books are delivered (UPS) VERY timely. It was HALF the cost to rent vs buy. The books were in almost pristine condition. They even provided the return UPS labels. You just pack it back in the box shipped to you, and you're done. It could NOT be any easier.

As a bonus, Chegg plants a tree for every book. For me, this was perfect. Good luck to all the students this year :))

Posted by: ms1234 | May 10, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

The difference between renting and buying, as far as I can tell after my first year at Virginia Tech, is you're guaranteed to be able to give it back if you rent. Sometimes the bookstores will not buy back books, if there is a new edition for the class next year. However, I don't like the idea that I don't have the option to keep the book- I've decided I want to keep one of mine for future reference, and sell back the others.

Another good option is selling your books to someone taking the same class the next semester. There are often emails sent over the listserv for my honors dorm offering books for half-way between the used book price and the buyback price. Both students win, that way.

Posted by: sarahee | May 10, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Those 18-20 are also adults. It's good that the College of William & Mary will be offering textbook rentals. Renting textbooks makes more sense because they're usually needed for one semester so when that semester is done, the textbooks can go back to the rental company. As a young man in college, I should rent textbooks and probably will this year. Probably in this decade, buying textbooks for the use of a semester class will make much less sense than renting a textbook.

Posted by: LibertyForAll | May 10, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Great info I would also suggest using GreenTextbooks.org
Save Money, Save The Planet

GreenTextbooks.org specializes in the recycling of textbooks, DVDs, CDs. Buying used textbooks not only saves you money, but cuts down on greenhouse gases caused by the manufacturing of new textbooks.
With GreenTextbooks.org you're not only saving trees, you are saving some green. http://www.GreenTextbooks.org

Posted by: greentextbooks | May 13, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

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