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More Colleges Launch Textbook Rental Programs

May 12, 2010

booksTextbook rental programs are increasingly spreading throughout the country, offering college students the opportunity to significantly trim college costs.

Bloomberg reports that Chegg Inc., which offers textbook rentals for as little as a third of the retail price, has created partnerships with two school bookshops in California and one in Nevada. Beginning this August, the company will be offering its service through the retailers using kiosks inside the shops.

"If we didn't do it, the students would have gone out on their own," noted Ron Durham, director of Fresno State's Kennel Bookstore, who was quoted by Bloomberg. He agreed to partner with Chegg after noticing the company's orange shipping boxes around the campus. "If a $110 book rents for $40 and it's not your major and it's something you're just doing because you have to, why wouldn't you do it?"

Dan Rosensweig, chief executive officer of Chegg, said that students who rent all of their books for four years save about $2,000. The company says that since it began its service in 2007, it has saved students more than $150 million.

In Alabama, several colleges and universities will be launching textbook rental programs this fall. Some of the schools that will be participating include the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Auburn University and the University of Montevallo.

"Rental is the big buzz right now," noted Rusty Weldon, who manages textbooks and technology for the Auburn bookstore and was quoted by The Birmingham News.

The College of William & Mary in Virginia will also be offering a textbook rental program beginning this fall, the Associated Press reports. The college will run the service in partnership with Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, which began its rental program earlier this year.

A similar program will begin in the fall at the Indiana University Bookstore, also in partnership with Barnes & Noble. Larry MacIntyre, a spokesman for IU, told the Indiana Daily Student that the new program will allow students to rent popular textbooks for 53 percent below retail price.

"The hope is that our students will save more than $4 million next year," MacIntyre said.

Other companies have launched textbook rental businesses, including the Follett Higher Education Group, which plans to expand its textbook rental program to over 600 campuses by this fall.


Compiled by CityTownInfo.com Staff

Sources:

"Ala. Colleges Start Textbook Rentals," The Birmingham News, May 12, 2010, Hannah Wolfson

"Bookstore Announces Textbook Rental Deal," Indiana Daily Student, April 27, 2010, Claire Wiseman

"Chegg's Rent-Don't-Buy Mantra Takes Hold at California Schools," Bloomberg, May 3, 2010, Ari Levy and Joseph Galante

"Va. College Offers Rent-A-Textbook," Associated Press, May 10, 2010, Monica Norton

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