Campus bookstore now offers textbook rental option

For the first time at the University, USF students have been able to rent textbooks from the campus bookstore since first week of august.

In January, Barnes & Noble College began implementing this option into hundreds of its college and university bookstores across the nation. If a student decides to take advantage of it, they have the potential to save up to 50 percent on a semester’s worth of new textbooks, according to the Barnes & Noble website.

“The company was looking to provide another avenue for students to save money at our bookstore,” said Grace McQueen, manager of the USF campus bookstore. “We are very excited to be able to offer this option to students … There has been a great deal of interest both online at the textbook reservation page and in the store, where students can learn more about the option.”

However, Jim Gray, a manager at competitor textbook retailer Gray’s College Bookstore, said he is not concerned about the campus bookstore’s new option because his store offers a similar program.

“We aren’t really concerned about losing business because of rental. That’s really what we do here,” he said. “Our rental prices will be less than the campus store.”

According to Gray’s website, students can save up to 60 percent on a semesters worth of textbooks by renting online or at their stores.

Though it ultimately may be cheaper for some students to buy their textbooks outright – such as when a student needs the same book for multiple semesters – McQueen said students gamble if they try to sell back their books after they become obsolete.

“I don’t even want to think about the exact amount I paid for books this semester,” said Tyler Clendenin, a senior majoring in political science. “I’ll definitely rent next time, especially if you get to keep them for the semester. I usually don’t even need my books after that.”

Though not all of the books on the sales floor are available for rent, McQueen said those that are cost 45 percent of what they would cost new. Students may also use Florida Prepaid, Bright Futures or other scholarship funds to rent a textbook, she said.

Students can check the bookstore’s website or come in to the store to see if their textbook is available for rent, she said. The bookstore has designated a line for rentals, where students are require students to provide their name, e-mail address and a credit card in case of damages.

Students can then use the textbook as they normally would, even highlighting passages and taking notes in margins, she said. Rented books can be returned up to 10 days after the last day of final exams; however, students can only elect to purchase rented books within the first two weeks.

According to the bookstore’s website, sftampa.bncollege.com, all rented textbooks are available on campus – excluding students from paying shipping fees, McQueen said.

Barnes & Noble College implemented this option on 25 campuses in the spring she said, and 90 percent of the students who rented textbooks from those stores said they would rent again because “it was such a good experience.”

“This is a multi-channel, convenient and inexpensive option that the bookstore is offering to the students at USF because we are very concerned about the price of textbooks and want to do everything we can to minimize the cost,” McQueen said.

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