When students first asked about renting textbooks instead of purchasing them, he laughed, says University Bookstore sales and marketing co-ordinator Martin Deck: “I didn’t think we’d be able to do so and remain in business.”
But 20 years after it first started selling used texts, the bookstore has added rental to its repertoire.
“We read everyday about how the book business is changing,” Deck says. “One thing that hasn’t changed is that students want hard-copy books as cheaply as possible, and many of them don’t want to keep the books after their courses have finished. Rental is the perfect option for them.”
The creation of new business models allows the store to offer rentals alongside its new, used and e-books. Students can rent for a term or for just a month, and save up to 75 per cent of the list price. Processing and payments are handled by a rental partner, says Deck, and customers return rentals to the Bookstore when they’re finished.
And he reminds faculty members that, as with more traditional stocking of course materials, rental works best for students when instructors place their orders early.
Students looking to rent texts may access the service on the Web site of the University Bookstore.