UT to offer textbook rental option to students

October 29, 2010 | News, UToday
By Meghan Cunningham

The University of Toledo soon will offer students a new way to get their textbooks for about half the cost of purchasing a new printed book.

A textbook rental program through Barnes & Noble Booksellers will begin spring semester and allow a student to rent a textbook for a semester and turn it in during final exam week for a fraction of what the book would cost to buy.

“We recognize the costs associated with going to college, and this is one way we as a University can help our students achieve a high-quality education within their budget,” said Joy Gramling, director of auxiliary services.

Using fall semester 2010 prices, for example, College Algebra by Ron Larson, a common text for a first-year math course, cost $181.35 new and $136 used. Renting this book would have cost students $92.49. The Call to Write by John Trimbur was $88 new and $66 used, while renting this book would have cost students $44.88.

Students can pay the rental fee at the bookstore or from the store’s website, utoledo.bncollege.com, at the same time they would purchase a new or used book at the beginning of the semester.

During the class, students can highlight and write in the margins like they would a book they planned to sell back to the bookstore. But instead of selling it back for a portion of what they paid or storing it on a bookshelf, students will return the book to the bookstore and that’s the end of it.

As with any purchase in the bookstore, students can use their Rocket Card, credit cards, cash or check. If renting their textbook, students must provide a credit card number that will be held until the book is returned. Rented materials not returned by the return date or returned in an unusable condition automatically will be charged 75 percent of the new book price plus a processing fee of 7.5 percent.

Not every book is available through the rental program. The University in conjunction with Barnes & Noble will determine qualifying books based on their popular use in college courses.

Textbook rental programs are a growing trend at colleges and universities as schools look to help make higher education more affordable to their students. Barnes & Noble began its textbook rental program in the fall and already has more than 300 campus bookstores participating as it expands the program.

“We are committed to providing students with the widest range of content options and price points available,” said Ann Fraley, 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 University of Toledo Bookstore.”

UT and Barnes & Noble are working to identify which textbooks will be available for the rental program when it begins spring semester.

“We will identify a number of books that encompass a variety of academic disciplines and course levels to ensure that as many students as possible have the opportunity to rent a textbook,” Gramling said. “We are listening to our students and faculty and working to make changes to benefit their University experiences. We look forward to offering this textbook rental program.”

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