Textbook rentals at SU, Follett’s continue for students
Raja Ram saved at least $100 when he rented a textbook through Follett’s Orange Bookstore’s Rent-A-Text program, which started last semester.
‘It was so much cheaper,’ said Ram, a freshman business management major. ‘The book I needed was $103, but I got it for $48 at Follett’s.’
More than 800 bookstores in the country are on college campuses. Last semester, 1.5 million books were rented from Follett’s stores nationwide, said Elio DiStaola, director of public and campus relations for the Follett Higher Education Group. There are no specific numbers for SU or for how many textbooks have been rented so far this semester.
Students can typically rent a textbook for between 33 and 55 percent of the price of buying a new textbook, according to a Jan. 18 press release from the National Association of College Stores. On average, students pay less than half the new book’s price, according to the Follett’s Rent-A-Text FAQ page. Bookstores also benefit.
‘For every dollar spent, the store makes between 4 and 6.5 cents,’ said Charles Schmidt, the association’s director of public relations. ‘Textbooks get customers in the store.’
Rent-A-Text allows students to pay a fraction of the cost of buying textbooks after students sign a rental agreement to return the books at a specified date, according to the Rent-A-Text website. Students can rent a book for a semester or an entire academic year. They must be 18 years or older and have a valid credit card, e-mail address and government-issued identification to rent a textbook, according to the website.
Rent-A-Text allows for some highlighting and marking in the rented books, but any writing or drawing that would make the books unusable for another customer is prohibited, according to the Rent-A-Text FAQ page.
The University Bookstore also has its own textbook-rental program. Students go to the store to rent books rather than buying them online.
‘It was so much cheaper, and for me it was all about the money,’ said Greg Banos, a freshman accounting major.
Kathleen Bradley, textbook and general division manager at the University Bookstore, said professors need to commit to a textbook for long-term use so that books can be made available to rent for multiple semesters. Bradley added that many students in upper-level classes want to keep their books for future reference, so they might not rent them.
The University Bookstore also offers a buyback policy for the books students purchase. This policy allows students to sell their books back to the bookstore at the end of the semester, whether they were bought new or used, for up to 50 percent of the new book price.
‘The buyback is the best value for students,’ Bradley said.
Outside of the University Bookstore and Follett’s, there are many online textbook-rental options, including BookFinder, BookRenter and Chegg.
‘I used Chegg because my friend told me about it, and it was cheap,’ said Michal Suchocki, a freshman biomedical engineering major. ‘I didn’t even know I could rent from Follett’s.’
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