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Bookstore begins textbook rental

Emily Schrank | Wednesday, August 25, 2010

In an attempt to offset rising costs of education, some students are turning to the new Follett Rent-A-Text program, now available at the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore.

“We already have about 25 percent of the student body registered to rent, which is phenomenal,” student body president Catherine Soler said. “I’ve even gotten a few text messages from people asking me how to go about renting textbooks.” 

Soler said students can expect to save as much as 50 percent by renting their textbooks instead of buying them. The Rent-A-Text program also saves students from having to worry about buyback values and selling their books at the end of each semester, she said.
Students are able to make light markings in the books that they rent, but they must be conservative, Soler said. 

“The Bookstore has expressed their interest in making the program work, and helping students stay fiscally sound. In other words, they are going to do their best to make sure that students are treated fairly in the return process,” she said. “I am not aware of any strict rule, but obviously there are expectations for respecting the property and returning books.”
During the program’s inaugural semester, 35 percent of the textbooks sold at the bookstore will be available to rent, Soler said.

“I would really like to see student government take a more active role in getting professors to support this program,” she said. “They have the ability to help save students a lot of money on textbooks.”

Soler said that if professors can commit to using a textbook for at least four semesters in a row, then the book could become rentable. This means that even customized textbooks, which many professors are now using, could eventually be rented instead of bought, she said.

“I think it’s great to tangibly see how student government plays a role in student life,” Soler said. “The Rent-A-Text program is definitely a work in progress though and we want student feedback to see how we can improve upon it.”

Katie Elish, a sophomore psychology major, said the Rent-A-Text program has made textbook shopping much more affordable.

“There are some books which I can only get through the Bookstore to begin with and the new rental system saves me from putting out a lot of money for them,” she said.  “It also eliminates the difficulties and worries associated with selling books back at the end of the semester.”

Elish said she was able to rent books for her theology class, as well as her college seminar. 

“It’s such a relief to know I can just turn the books back in when I’m done with them,” she said. “Overall, I think it’s a great program and I hope it can be expanded in the coming years.”

Students interested in renting textbooks can register to do so on the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore website.