Textbook rental sales prevail in Kent bookstores


Chelsae Ketchum

Junior communication studies major Megan Gumpf walks out of the busy bookstore on the first day of the spring semester, Monday, Jan. 13, 2014. The doorway is lined with backpacks because students are not permitted to bring them inside with them.

Breyanna Tripp

Textbook rental programs can save students between 45 to 66 percent off the price of a new textbook according to the National Association of College Stores.

Saving on textbook costs is a worry for all students as many book bills can total hundreds of dollars. Kent State students are no exception, as many are opting for renting their books instead of buying electronic or paperback editions.

“Textbook rentals are convenient and efficient,” said Raymond Szypulski, senior psychology major.

Online competition and rising student demand for cheaper textbooks has led bookstores nationwide to open renting programs in their bookstores. The National Association of College Stores estimates that 200 to 300 of its 3,000 member stores offered rentals last year.

The rental trend has even migrated to major office supply stores as Staples announced Jan. 15 that it will partner with online bookseller BookRenter to offer 5.5 million titles to its consumers.

The University of Akron, The Ohio State University, Cleveland State University and other major public universities in Ohio offer its students textbook rental options. The University of Cincinnati and Miami University operate its textbook rental program through Follett, the same company Kent State’s university bookstore uses.

Susan Aylward, Kent State’s University Bookstore director, said over 50 percent of the textbooks offered at the university bookstore are available for rent.

“In the past couple years, we have seen significant growth in rental which can be attributed to increases in student demand and title availability,” Aylward said.

Follett, an operator of Kent State University Bookstore and more than 1,600 campus stores, launched Rent-a-Text in 2009 and has saved students more than $400 million.

“I definitely prefer renting textbooks versus buying,” said Anna Sivak, junior middle childhood education major.

Students can highlight and write in the textbook free of charge. At the end of the rental agreement, students can convert their rental to a purchase.

“I think textbook rentals are great,” says Andy Yaeger, senior computer science major. “They save me a lot of money.”

Campus Book and Supply also offers students the option of renting their textbooks. Greg Palmer, operations manager at Campus Book and Supply, says this allows the store to compete with online competitors.

“It’s been a win-win situation for everyone,” said Palmer.

Palmer believes textbook rental programs saves students the hassle of selling their books back and making little to no money.

Alyward says the bookstore will continue to work with faculty to create more rental options for students.

Contact Breyanna Tripp at [email protected].