Queen's University — Since 1873
9th September 2011

Students save with textbook rental plan

Half of textbooks available for rental through new program

Students could save half off textbooks with rentals.
Students could save half off textbooks with rentals. (Journal File Photo)

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Instead of spending $142 on an Introduction to Biology textbook, it can now be rented for half the price.

This rental option is part of a new program at Queen’s Campus Bookstore.

Approximately half of the books required in all courses are available, Bookstore General Manager Chris Tabor said, adding that there’s no limit to how many books a student can rent.

“[Students] can extend the rental period as long as they want. If they’re late, the return penalties will never exceed the cost of the new book, but they will pay late fees,” he said.

The cost of shipping a book to the Campus Bookstore would in some cases double the rental price. The cost is $12 plus $4 per extra title to order them. On top of these costs is the actual textbook rental price which varies by length of time. Textbooks are returned to the Campus Bookstore by the student, and then returned to Follett Higher Education Group, a bookstore provider.

Tabor said the Bookstore invests in the rental program and the aim is to break even as the store operates as a not-for-profit enterprise.

The textbook rental option won’t be useful to all students, Tabor said.

The program was tested on approximately 10 students last year in the english, political science and applied science departments. All pilot project participants rented at least one book but few rented all of their books.

“Some want their own book to mark up, they want to keep it, they want it longer. It’s really up to the individual student,” he said.

Class professors offer three-hour reserves on required textbooks as another cost-saving option. Texts can be found on the Stauffer Library Reserve search engine, which lists all professors and courses possible.

“Just like rentals won’t be for everyone, the libraries won’t be for everyone either,” Tabor said.

Laura Stairs, ArtSci ’12, said she buys used textbooks that cost her around $600 a year. Stairs said that while the new initiative may be helpful to some students, it won’t be one that she’ll use.

“As it turns out, none of the textbooks that I will be using are available through the rental program. Maybe if you were in science it would be more useful,” she said.

Stairs said the textbook rental service is generating a profit by selling the same product multiple times to students.

“We all know textbooks are an outrageous expense to our education and sometimes it just seems ridiculous to pay all this money for a book you’re going to use for four months of your life,” she said.

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