July 19, 2011
On Monday, Amazon launched its Kindle Textbook Rental service, allowing students to rent from tens of thousands of textbooks from leading publishers with savings up to 80 percent, according to a press release from the e-commerce company.
With the new service, students will be able to rent textbooks for anywhere between 30 and 360 days. This way, students will only have to pay for the specific amount of time that they will need the textbook. Students can also extend their rental period, as needed, in smaller increments or purchase the book at any time.
"Students tell us that they enjoy the low prices we offer on new and used print textbooks. Now we're excited to offer students an option to rent Kindle textbooks and only pay for the time they need--with savings up to 80% off the print list price on a 30-day rental," said Dave Limp, vice president, Kindle.
The high cost of textbooks has long been an issue on college campuses. Some lawmakers have even stepped in to try to curb costs for students. According to VentureBeat, prices for Kindle Textbook Rentals are significantly cheaper. Introduction to Chemistry: A Foundation, 7th Edition, for example, would cost $129.16 for a new hardcover edition. An etextbook from Kindle would cost $114.36. With Kindle Textbook Rental, however, students can rent the textbook for a minimum 60 days for $46.55. Extending the rental period to 120 days would put the cost at $59.32, which is still significantly cheaper than buying.
As the press release noted, the Kindle digital rentals can be read on a Kindle e-reader or on most devices through free Kindle Reading Apps for PC, Mac, iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and Android-based devices.
MSNBC reported that Amazon will also let students keep all their notes and highlighted content in the Amazon Cloud. This will allow students to access the information anytime, anywhere, even after the rental expires.
"Normally, when you sell your print textbook at the end of the semester you lose all the margin notes and highlights you made as you were studying. We're extending our Whispersync technology so that you get to keep and access all your notes..." explained Limp in the press release.
According to Digital Trends, Amazon is not the first to offer digital textbook rentals specifically for college students. Molly McHugh has a breakdown of some of the other services available to students.
Compiled by Heidi M. Agustin
"Amazon finally introduces Kindle textbook rentals," venturebeat.com, July 18, 2011, Sean Ludwig
"Rental textbooks available on Kindle," msnbc.msn.com, July 18, 2011, Suzanne Choney
"Saving cash on college textbooks: E-book rental services compared," digitaltrends.com, July 18, 2011, Molly McHugh
"Students Can Now Save Up To 80% with Kindle Textbook Rental," phx.corporate-ir.net, July 18, 2011