Where have I been?? Yet another edtech trend was brought to my attention today, and I had never heard of it before…
We’ve been working (read: struggling) with our campus bookstores, trying to work out a solution for our online/distance students who want to sell back their books. Sure, they could always sell them through Amazon.com or ebay, but we want our bookstores to set up some type of procedure to work with them. (How do your campus bookstores handle this, if you don’t mind my asking?)
Well today, out of the blue, my director sent me an email that didn’t really offer a solution, but it does offer a definite alternative. Textbook rentals — much in the spirit of Netflix and movie rentals — allow students to rent textbooks for a month/semester/year (depending on the service you choose) with the understanding that you will return the textbook in “good” condition. Different services have different pricing schemes. Below is a quick look at a couple of textbook rental sites that are out there.
Claims to be #1 in textbook rentals. You pay per book for a semester, quarter, or summer. You do have the ability to extend your rental for an additional cost for an extra 15 days, 30 days, semester, or quarter. They’ll even plant a tree for every book you rent, buy, or sell with them. Here’s an example of what you might save:
Amazon.com price (new): $137.75
Chegg.com price (per semester): $66.79
Campus Technology did a story on them today, so I wanted to include them in my post, but sadly several of their pages (including the signup page) are throwing errors.
According to CT’s story, Skoobit offers several plans to choose from. The special 45-day summer rental plan allows a student to rent books at $24.99 each. Or students can opt for what they anticipate to be the most popular plan – $10.99 per book per month for four months. Not bad … if only their site would work.
Listed in a recent Wall Street Journal article, BookRenter.com allows students to rent books for 15, 30, 60, 90 (~1 quarter), or 125 (~1 semester) days, with the option to purchase it new. Going back to our previous example:
Amazon.com price (new): $137.75
BookRenter.com price (125 days): $63.75
So you can definitely save quite a chunk of change using these websites. Oh how I wish these had been available when I was getting my undergrad degree. That being said, even grad students (who tend to hold onto their textbooks to keep as references) would be interested in these sites. Several offer the option to purchase the books new, and with our example above, BookRenter.com’s purchase price ($142.94) is close to even Amazon.com’s (current) lowest used price ($123.89).
Anyway, as a result of all this, we’re planning on letting our students know about this. My question for you all is — had you heard of this before? Have you heard from any students who have used these sites? What did they think?
Howdy folks! I’m an Instructional Designer at UT Dallas. I have a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education from Angelo State University and a Master’s in Computer Education and Cognitive Systems from the University of North Texas. I’ve been working in edtech for 11 years. Hmm… what else? I’m a *huge* fan of that little Irish band called U2, and I’m a bigtime Firefly/Serenity advocate.