Starting in January of next semester, just in time for the upcoming spring semester, the River Campus Bookstore will be opening a new chapter in its textbook offerings for students.
The new program will allow students to rent textbooks for their courses.
Previously, students had to either purchase new books or used copies through the Bookstore or find their books elsewhere. Now, instead of having to pay full price to purchase books that they might not use outside of the course, the program will allow students to pay one rental fee for each book. Renting a book will also offer students a 50 percent discount off of the cost of each new book.
“We are committed to providing our students with the range of options they want and need,” Maria Ferrante, General Manager of UR Bookstores, said. “Offering a textbook rental program provides students with another cost-saving alternative.”
Students will also be allowed to highlight or mark the rented books, just like they could if they had bought the book and planned on selling it back to the Bookstore.
The program provides students with the capability to return the books in person or by mailing them back to the Bookstore, with courtesy e-mails going out near the end of the semester-long trial period to remind students to bring the books back. Books are due back by the last day of finals, giving students ample time to complete all course work before having to return the books.
However, students will be charged replacement and processing fees for books that are not returned or that are returned in unusable conditions.
If a student changes his or her mind and decides that the book is worth keeping, there is also the option to convert the rental to a full purchase during the first two weeks of the semester.
The Bookstore is estimating that about 20 percent of course books will be available for rental next semester.
“The list of titles available for rental will change from semester to semester,” Ferrante said. “We use a number of criteria to determine whether a book is suitable for inclusion in the rental program. These include edition status, reuse rates both on this campus and across all Barnes & Noble College Bookstores and whether the books include custom or single-use components.”
Student reaction to the new program was generally positive, but most still noted that even with rental books being half the price of a new book, cheaper prices elsewhere are the driving factor for most purchases.
“I think it’s a good idea ­— sometimes I don’t really need a book after the semester,” sophomore Mehreen Butt said. But when asked if it would make the Bookstore her first stop for purchases, she wasn’t quite sure. “I’ll still try to look somewhere else,” Butt said.
Freshman Rachel Stuart echoed similar sentiments.
“I like keeping my books because I’m a nerd, so I’ll probably still buy them cheaper elsewhere.”
However, some were excited about the new deals.
“I always use the Bookstore anyway, like a moron, so yeah, I’ll definitely be taking advantage of this,” sophomore Mark Angland said.

Clark is a member of
the class of 2012.
Additional reporting by
Jason Silverstein.

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