Textbook rentals start up next fall

By on April 14, 2010

Following the financial boom of textbook rental Web sites like Chegg.com, a rent-a-text program will be in place at Quinnipiac University’s bookstore beginning this fall semester.

It was not a response to textbook rental sites, bookstore manager Andrew Tranquilli said, but “they got a good jump on us.”

Online rental options have continued to pick up financial steam since their inception, most evident in the fact that Chegg.com secured more than $100 million in venture capital earlier this year. But the big advantage to a rental program on campus, Tranquilli said, was convenience.

“We’ll have the right books, the right editions, and if there is damage we can do a no-hassle switch,” he said.

Pricing will be “competitive,” and Tranquilli estimated a $100 textbook to cost about $45 for a semester-long rental.

While such figures have yet to be finalized, the current percentage would make a Quinnipiac rental more expensive than one from Chegg.com. A new English 102 text, “Retellings,” costs $91 at the school bookstore, which would make for a tentative $40 rental. The same book at Chegg.com costs $28.99 for a semesterly rental, though the Chegg book may or may not be used.

But according to Tranquilli, about 80 percent of Quinnipiac students make textbook purchases at the campus bookstore.

“It’s saving money,” junior marketing major Allison Skidmore said of the rental program. “A lot of money.”

A rental option would also bypass the buy-back process, where many students would not know the dollar value of their used books.

“You know that you’ll get your money’s worth,” physical therapy junior Rachel Nash said. “Before, you would wait in all those lines without knowing you were going to get money back.”

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