Kent bookstore to rent textbooks in fall

Courtney Kerrigan

The Kent State campus bookstore will offer textbook rentals in the fall with Follett’s Rent-A-Text program.

Bookstore director Michael Marquardt said about 10 to 25 percent of the books will be offered to rent based on the national title list set by Follett, which finds the most popular titles used on campuses nationwide.

“We are a division of the Follett college bookstores, and they did an experiment with the program with about 12 stores in the fall,” Marquardt said. “It was successful, so we decided to expand it.”

Students will be able to use their financial aid and textbook scholarships with the rentals. At the end of each semester, students will have the option to purchase the books they had rented. The bookstore will continue to sell used and new books.

Sophomore zoology major Emily Cosentino said she believes the rental service will be beneficial to students and save them hundreds of dollars.

“Books are really overpriced, and it sucks because you spend hundreds of dollars and don’t even get half of that back,” she said.

Elio DiStaolo, director of campus relations for Follett, said students could save 50 percent or more on a textbook by renting it.

“There’s a giant convenience in the fact that students can rent online, if that’s the case, pick it up in the store and then drop it off at the bookstore after finals,” DiStaolo said. “We’re thinking about the student and improving the traditional rental model.”

DuBois Bookstore will also offer textbook rentals in the fall.

Hal DuBois, co-owner of DuBois Bookstore, said they have been thinking about offering rentals for about five years, but wanted to make sure it will be a real benefit.

Students will not be able to rent all books, and the prices will be about half of the original.

“We wanted to make sure it will be a real benefit, and it’s an opportunity to keep beating the competition, and we have a student-centric approach to anything we do,” he said.

Dean Kline, owner of Campus Book and Supply, said he hopes to offer rentals in the fall but doesn’t think the other stores will affect his business if he doesn’t provide the service, too.

“It may take awhile before people try renting books,” Kline said. “Not everyone will try it at one time.”

DiStaola said Follett started reaching out to campuses it serves a month and a half ago and had a lot of success with the program.

“We saved students on seven campuses $2 million in one semester,” he said. “We base our model on a rent, read and return model anchored in costs savings.”

Contact student finance reporter Courtney Kerrigan at [email protected].