Save Money By Renting Textbooks
To the many students from NYC to MIami, college counselors at International College Counselors helped get into college this year – from the University of Florida to the Ivies – a word of advice for you…
There’s a new way to save money on textbooks: Rent them!
Textbook publishers are starting to let students rent their books. They’re aiming to thwart competition from used-book sales, digital texts, and other textbook rental businesses including ones that are already online like Chegg.
Recently, one of the nation’s largest textbook publishers, Cengage Learning, announced that it would start renting books to students for 40% to 70% off the retail price. Several hundred titles will be for rent with more to be added in 2010. Students will be able to buy print textbooks, e-textbooks, individual e-chapters and audio books, as well as homework and study tools. Free content and discounts for purchasing multiple products will also be available. As a bonus to renting from them, Cengage will give students immediate access to an e-book of the first chapter so that they don’t fall behind while the book making it’s way through the mail.
A few college bookstores have been offering rentals for years, and more are moving in that direction. Barnes & Noble College Booksellers is starting a pilot rental program at three of its 624 college bookstores this fall.
No big surprise that students are looking to cut costs. College textbooks often cost more than $100 apiece, costing students an average of $700 to $1,100 a year. This adds up to one of their biggest expenses after tuition and room and board. Many students who buy the textbooks often resell them at the end of the year, feeding the used-book market, which publishers hate as they don’t get any money from that resale. Of course, students only get a very small percentage of their money back for a book. It’s the school bookstore that will make the killing, by marking them up astronomically and selling them the next year/semester.
The Higher Education Opportunity Act, passed last year, included $10 million for grants to support textbook rental pilot programs. At International College Counselors, our college advisors are looking to see how the 20 college bookstores who have applied for grants do. If they do well, we’re bound to see a lot more of this in the future.
Of course, books may one day be all digital, but that’s a time that has not yet come.
If you have any other college admissions questions for a college counselor, I’d be happy to answer them. I work with international students (9 countries and counting!) as well as those in the U.S. Please write me here or at my personal email which can be found on my International College Counselors college counseling website.
Mandee Heller Adler, Founder and Principal of International College Counselors
By the way, my college advising company is opening a new branch of International College Counselors in NYC so now you can visit our college advisor NYC as well. Our college counselors, MIami, are here for you too.