Textbooks can be quite costly, and undergraduates are increasingly taking advantage of the UR bookstore’s textbook rental program.
The number of students who choose to rent has increased by 14 percent over the last three semesters. The bookstore first offered this program in the spring of 2010.
“Textbook rentals have become very popular with UR students,” UR bookstore manager Maria Ferrante said.

In fall 2011, 33 percent of students chose to rent when purchasing their books. The number of students renting increased to 40 percent in fall 2012 and inched higher to 47 percent last semester. This increase coincides with expanded options; last fall, only half of the textbooks available in the bookstore were rentable compared to 80 percent this semester.

Despite the growing popularity of the rental program, many students still choose to buy textbooks from websites such as Half.com, which is run by eBay, and Amazon, where they are typically more affordable. For example, the required textbook for Introduction to Psychology costs nearly $130 to rent at the bookstore, yet it is less than half that on Amazon.

“There’s really no point in ever getting them in person,” junior Lucian Copeland, who usually buys his books from Amazon or tries to find free digital versions, said.

However, some students are willing to pay the higher prices as the purchase and delivery is instantaneous. Senior Emily Kopp usually buys her books online but will go to the bookstore if she needs them immediately. When this happens, she prefers to rent as she feels that she won’t use  them when the semester ends.  Renting then becomes a better choice because she isn’t satisfied with the money she is offered to sell them back.

“I don’t mind renting, but I don’t usually buy the books,” she said. “I feel like I’m never going to use them again.”

Goldin is a member of the class of 2013.

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