Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
This fall, the bookstore will offer textbook rental of over 200 titles as an alternative to purchasing books. According to the bookstore’s Director, Kathy Grace, the rental system will help to reduce the financial loss that comes from buying and reselling textbooks.
In late July, the bookstore had pre-ordered 221 titles through Bookstore Solutions, a national textbook rental company, to be available for rent in the bookstore at the beginning of the fall semester. Grace said that more books would be requested as professors finalize syllabi.
According to Grace, the rental prices will be in the ballpark of those offered by online rental companies that cater to individual students, such as Chegg and Rent-a-Text. As with books for purchase, new rentals will be more expensive than used copies of a title.
“It’s all pushing toward the end result of not having students put as much [money] down at the beginning,” Grace said.
At the end of the semester, if a student is unable to return a rented book, the student must pay the difference between the rental cost and the title’s original purchase price.
According to Grace, the bookstore’s contract with Bookstore Solutions requires that rentals be offered for two semesters. At the end of this academic year, the bookstore will evaluate the rental program and decide whether the contract should be renewed.
“[We] didn’t want to partner with a company that wasn’t going to treat the students the way we think ya’ll should be treated,” Grace said.