West Virginia University junior Corina Carl knows how difficult it can be to pursue an education while keeping an eye on money in the bank.
While she doesn’t have to find the money for textbooks, she has to pass on the cost to her parents, something that’s frustrating for her especially as the economy has worsened.
“I hate telling my parents they have to buy books,” Carl said. “I feel so bad that they’re so expensive.”
Now, West Virginia University is giving her and the rest of the student body another option this fall: book rentals.
Textbooks for the most commonly taken classes will be available to rent for the whole semester at half the price of a new textbook.
Here’s how it works:
Students can use any currently accepted method of payment at the campus Barnes & Noble bookstore or online store to rent textbooks and must provide a credit card as security. The books must be returned to the bookstore no later than 10 days after the last day of finals.
Once students have rented books they can highlight and take notes in them at the same level they would if they planned to sell the book back. If the books are not returned to the store, the renter will be charged replacement and processing fees.
Barnes & Noble tested the program in 25 college bookstores in a pilot program in which more than 90 percent of participants said they would continue to rent textbooks from the bookstore. The company is the first national bookstore to offer both in-store and online textbook rentals.
The company developed the program as a response to challenges to the used book market from online sellers, consignment stores and publisher practices and as traditional textbook sales at campus bookstores declined.
“This new program comes at a fortunate time as students continue to look for more ways to save money, something that the WVU Bookstore can help them do,” said Dan Durbin, senior associate vice president for finance at WVU. “Aside from being convenient, it will reduce the students’ overall costs of attending the university and help add to their positive experiences at WVU.”
More students at WVU believe renting textbooks is a welcome option.
Matthew Tomallo, a sophomore from Pennsylvania, said he considers how much he is likely to use a book and whether it’s worth the cost when he receives a semester’s list of textbooks.
He says the renting program would benefit financially strapped students who are faced with that decision.
“It’s a big burden off them, and they wouldn’t have to make the decision whether to buy a book or not,” he said.
Tomallo said he would consider renting books for his general education requirements and electives but would probably still purchase books required for his major of political science.
James Dzuris, a graduating senior in international studies and Chinese, believes students will find renting a more attractive alternative to buying textbooks.
“Renting books would definitely be something that I think most students would use,” he said.
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