Barnes & Noble may offer textbook rentals for college students

Students looking to save money on textbooks may soon have access to another option via a new book rental program initiated nationally by Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, a bookstore official said.

Roman Coronado, textbook manager at the university bookstore, said a textbook rental program at the university “could be a potentially good idea,” but that the university has not confirmed any plans to implement the program. Barnes & Noble College Booksellers first introduced the rental option at a regional meeting a few months ago.

Jade Roth, vice president of books for Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, said the company was looking to expand the program and would be talking with many of the schools they serve this spring.

“We are starting discussions with a broad group of we certainly will be having discussions with TCU about it,” Roth said. “From our prospective, rental is yet another option at yet another price point that we can offer to students.”

Karen DiScala, manager of corporate communications at Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, said the rental program was an effort to offer students a cheaper alternative to purchasing new textbooks. DiScala said textbooks would rent at a rate of 42.5 percent of the original cost to purchase. For example, a $100 text book would cost a student $42.50 per semester, she said.

Rented books need to be postmarked by the last day of finals to avoid additional fees and penalties. A penalty of 75 percent of the new book’s price, plus a processing fee of 7.5 percent of the original book cost would be assessed for unreturned books, DiScala said.

Coronado said that if implemented, a rental program could cause issues with bookstore inventory. Initial discussion concerning the program raised questions about a drop in sales, which would also be a problem, he said.

“Sales determine your budget.the bigger your budget, the more books you can order,” Coronado said, adding that the ultimate goal is to make sure students are happy with the bookstore.

University of North Texas and University of Texas at Arlington are two local universities offering students textbook rentals through their bookstores, which are managed by Follett Higher Education Group, according to a Dallas Morning News article.

Corinne Hodges, a junior theatre major, said she would prefer the textbook rental option for classes outside of her major because she would be unlikely to ever use those books after the class concluded.

“I know I’m going to return (the books) at the end of the year and it would really save me the hassle and the money of buying them in the first place,” Hodges said. “You never get as much as you paid for them when you have to sell them back.”