A growing number of students are choosing not to purchase their course materials because of the cost associated with them. The practice causes the problems one would expect: more student stress as their grades take a hit, teacher frustration at students not being prepared and a lot of finger-pointing from everyone. The students blame the school. The faculty, in turn, are unaware of how their role can impact the cost to the student. Few people understand the whole process beginning to end — but everyone has an opinion. Students and families want more cost-savings options. After new, used and digital course materials, what’s left? Rental.
New books are being left behind as students actively search for alternatives. Used books and rentals are the two options more students are choosing when they make course materials purchases. According to a recent study, 67% of students buy used textbooks, 55% rent, 25% buy new and 25% download e-textbooks.
“I’ve been in the bookstore business since 1988, and in my experience, the two main concerns for students are always price and choice,” Beverly Dickerson, campus store director for Ouachita Baptist University said. “Moving online with MBS Direct allowed us to offer new, used, rental, digital, digital rental and Marketplace — students can choose what best fits their budget and their preference. Because they can comparison-shop right on our page with Marketplace, we don’t lose them to other sources.”
Students can rent a book as easily as they purchase a book and rentals provide upfront savings of up to 60% off of the list price. Rental solutions offer the same flexibility in payment solutions, including student financial aid (backed with a credit or debit card). After finals, students simply turn the book back in, no need to go through buyback or individually selling the book. The whole process can be simple and effective, while providing students and families an ideal solution to balance their financial concern and their desire to be prepared for class.
Rentals are increasingly expected to be a course materials option for students. With a simple Google search for “textbook rentals” there are pages of companies who are willing to provide the service to students if they can’t find the options they want in the college store. Those companies may not be the most reputable, they might not get the correct edition and third-party seller scams are growing. However, for many students and families, cost trumps all else.