Rent-A-Text is not for most students

Rent-A-Text is not for most students

Rent-A-Text is not for most students

Daniel Vasilchuk

Follett Higher Education Group has made a poor investment in selecting the Hornet Bookstore to be a part of its pilot rental program, Rent-A-Text. This program will either succeed or fail depending on student participation in the next few years.

There is a lot of good to be said about the program. It is beneficial to students because of the large savings it provides. Pam Parsons, the bookstore director, said the price of a rental book is 57.5 percent off the original price., along with other online retailers, does not offer new textbooks at such low prices.

Charles Schmidt, spokesperson for the National Association of College Stores, said that having the program strengthens the bookstores’ position against competing retailers.

“By adding another low-cost option for students, they improve their competitiveness,” Schmidt said.

This is especially important because, if prices are high, students tend to look online.

Looking deeper into the program, its pitfalls make it not worth your while.

Students looking for a required textbook might find that it is not available for rent. Parsons said only 15 percent of the total collection, or more than 500 titles, are available.

In order for the bookstores to regain lost money due to low rental prices, Follett chose titles that would last at least four semesters.

Considering the limited inventory, this program is not for every student.

Also, the program is not for students who plan on going to graduate school. It may be fine to rent a book for classes that fulfill a general education requirement, but it does not work for classes required by a specific major.

As a chemistry major looking forward to pursuing a doctorate in chemistry, I need all of my chemistry books to refer to later on.

The material I study in my chemistry classes is directly tested by the Graduate Record Exam, which is required for admission into any graduate school. So if you are like me, do not rent major-related books.

“If it is a title you want to own, you should purchase the book,” Parsons said.

Another caveat is that students will not have the choice of reselling a rented book once the semester is finished.

It is upfront savings that highlight the program and its potential success, said Elio DiStaola, director of public and campus relations for Follett – but this is far outweighed by profit from reselling.

Students can garner as much as 50 percent of what they paid for a book during the buyback period at the end of each semester. Another option is reselling online, but students might not get all their money back.

Having done a lot of online shopping and reselling myself, I find that I have saved much more money than if I had participated in the rental program.

Rent-A-Text, while slightly beneficial, is simply not a good choice if you are truly looking to save some money on books or need them for later.

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