Interesting article in the NYT today about Barnes & Noble’s textbook rental program. According to the article, textbooks can be rented from college bookstores for about 42% of the retail price. B & N piloted the program last year in a few schools, it has now been expanded to 25 campuses. Renting textbooks isn’t a new phenomenon, but it’s picked up in popularity due to federal grants for bookstores to start rental programs (to combat the high cost of textbooks). Cengage and Chegg.com are also options. Are you allowed to highlight and write in the rented books I wonder? If this takes off, how might this impact the regularity of new editions? Unfortunately, it only offers an option to students, renting. It doesn’t get to the heart of the matter, which is the high cost of the book.
Here in Ohio we experimented with leasing e-textbooks from CourseSmart. It didn’t work out so well because the program has been canceled. Students just aren’t ready to embrace the e-textbook, they want “a real book.”