Thursday, August 13, 2009

Renting Your Textbooks

Interesting move by a big name publisher. I have a textbook with Cengage and use many of their books in my classes. I know many of my students would jump at the chance to rent their $100 textbook for $40 - especially in a down economy. While I held on to nearly every textbook I ever used, I find today's students rarely keep their books. I'm not sure why this is the case. Maybe it's the proliferation of the Internet as a source of information, or the fact that many of textbooks are obsolete almost as quickly as they are published - particularly in technology fields.

Textbook Publisher Offers Rental Plan
In the rapidly evolving college textbook market, one of the nation’s largest publishers, Cengage Learning, announced on Thursday that it will start renting books to students later this year, at 40 to 70 percent of the sale price.

Students who choose Cengage’s rental option will get immediate access to the first chapter of the book electronically, in e-book format, and will have a choice of shipping options for the printed book. When the rental term — 60, 90, or 130 days — is over, students can either return the textbook or purchase it.

With the growing competition from online used-book sales, digital texts and new Internet textbook-rental businesses like Chegg and BookRenter, other publishers and college bookstores are also edging toward rentals.

Follett Higher Education Group, which manages more than 850 college bookstores, is starting a pilot rental program this fall at about a dozen stores, including those at the State University of New York at Buffalo, Grand Rapids Community College in Michigan, and California State University-Sacramento. The stores will offer about 20 percent of their titles for rent, charging 42.5 percent of the purchase price.

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