Renting books saves students money

Julie Sickel

The University Bookstore offers an alternative to buying textbooks.

The addition of book rentals to the University Bookstore this year ushers in a new option for students looking to save money and limit the number of textbooks they purchase.

“We are very happy with the book rental thus far,” said Michael Marquardt, the University Bookstore director. “Follett gave us a budget to work with and we will definitely exceed our budgeted figure by year end.”

Marquardt wouldn’t give specific numbers on how many books were rented this semester, saying he didn’t want his competitors to have the information.

Follett, the company that owns the University Bookstore in the Student Center, initiated the new book rental program on campus, allowing students to rent books for up to 50 percent cheaper than the purchasing price.

“With the high price of books, (Follett) started experimenting with book rentals in 29 stores,” Marquardt said. “This year, they decided to expand and there are approximately 700 stores now that rent textbooks.”

Off-campus bookstore Campus Book and Supply mirrored Follett by offering textbooks for rent this year as well.

“Follett starting the rental program did influence us to start one as well,” said Lindsay Nagy, assistant manager of Campus Book and Supply. “We try to stay competitive with all the bookstores.”

There is one bookstore in Kent that won’t be following suit just yet. Lisa DuBois of DuBois Bookstore says the new rental programs at the other stores haven’t affected the store’s business.

“We thought about doing (rentals) about five years ago actually,” DuBois said, “but in order to do it effectively we need a commitment from the university, from the professors, to continue to use a book for at least three years so that we can make back the money we spend to purchase the book.

“At present the store has decided not to use rentals; we’ve decided to wait and see how it goes with other stores,” DuBois said.

A downside of the book rental program is that not all textbooks are available for rent.

“We try to pick the most popular books, the books most in demand,” Marquardt said. “Books we anticipate a new edition will not be coming out for the next couple years.”

Some students will not get to experience textbooks savings because of the unavailability of certain books.

“My economics textbook would have been a great one to rent,” said Amy Hawkins, a junior history major. “Instead I spent $100 for a stack of pages.”

Mike Nicolino, a freshman exploratory major, had to purchase all of his textbooks in the Student Center since none could be rented.

In addition, some students have voluntarily opted out of the rental program in order to keep books for their major.

“A couple of my books I could have rented, but I chose to buy,” said Cori Clutter, a sophomore early childhood education major. “Some of my books I like to keep to look back at and I like to be able to write and take notes in my books.”

“I’d feel bad marking up a rental,” she added.

With the rental program in its infancy at Kent State, many students are still unaware of its existence. Marquardt is confident that more students will come to the University Bookstore to rent books.

“I think as word spreads about the book rental and how much you save, it’s going to continue to grow.”

For more information on Follett and to see a list of textbooks available to rent visit

Contact Julie Sickel at [email protected].