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Bookstore to offer textbook rental plan

April 29, 2010 12:00AM

Beginning in the fall, PSU's Gorilla Bookstore by Barnes & Noble will give students a new money-saving option by offering a new textbook rental program. 

This textbook rental program will allow students to rent many textbooks for less than 50 percent of the cost of purchasing a new printed textbook, according to Barnes and Noble. As an added convenience, students will be able to rent books either in the store or from the store's website, www.pittstate.bkstore.com

The decision to offer a textbook rental program was made jointly by Pittsburg State University and Barnes & Noble College Booksellers.

"We are always looking for ways to keep costs down for students," said Steve Erwin, associate vice president for campus life and student services. "When Barnes and Noble began testing a new rental program, it seemed a good option to drive down textbook costs on our own campus. We believe this will be very beneficial for many of our students."

Erwin said the number of titles available for rent will be determined by Barnes and Noble by comparing the titles selected by PSU for the fall semester with those at other campuses across the U.S. and then considering a number of other factors. Erwin said that based on pilot programs run by Barnes and Noble, he expects about 20 percent of the titles to be available for rental initially at PSU.

According to Barnes and Noble, the company considers several factors when deciding whether to include a book in its rental program. Among them are edition status, reuse rates both on the local campus and then across the company and whether there are custom or single use components in the book.

The company said the response to their early textbook rental testing has been positive. Pilot programs were run at 25 stores including Ohio State University and the University of Maryland.

"We are committed to providing students with the widest range of content options and price points available," said Kim Otte, vice president at Barnes & Noble College Booksellers. "Whether students are interested in new books, used, digital, unbundled, or now rentals, they know they can find what they want at the Gorilla Bookstore."

Although renting a textbook will be cheaper than buying a new one and the initial cost will be lower than the cost of a used textbook, purchasing a used book may still be the most economical option for students because the used books, if they are readopted, can be sold back to the bookstore for 50 percent of their purchase price.

Features of the new rental program include:

• Students can pay the rental fees using any form of tender currently accepted by the bookstore - including student financial aid and campus debit cards. (Note: For security purposes, a valid credit card must also be provided regardless of the tender used for the rental fee.)

• Students can highlight or mark the rented books just as they would if they purchased a book and planned to sell it back to the bookstore.

• Students can convert their rental to a purchase during the first two weeks of class.

The rental period is for the duration of the term/semester. Books are due back at the bookstore no later than 10 days after the last day of finals. Students can return the books in person or mail them to the bookstore. Courtesy e-mails will go out as the end of the term/semester approaches reminding students to return their books. Books not returned (or returned in unusable condition) will be subject to replacement and processing fees.

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