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Rent-A-Text arrives at Saint Mary’s bookstore

Ashley Charnley | Friday, January 28, 2011

Saint Mary’s students took advantage of the new textbook rental program at Shaheen Bookstore, which was acquired by Follett Higher Education Group on Oct. 20.

Thirty-six percent of students rented textbooks through the Rent-A-Text program, which accounted for 18 percent of the Bookstore’s total sales for the semester, Jim O’Connor, a regional manager at Follett, said.

Notre Dame, which started the same program last semester, had a similar success rate, with 25 percent of students renting their texts.

O’Connor said Saint Mary’s also has an increase in used texts.

“With the introduction of this initiative along with a tremendous increase in the availability of used textbooks resulted in 41 percent of the SMC student purchases at greatly reduced costs as compared to a new textbook price,” O’Connor said.

O’Connor said renting texts allows students to spend less for a semesters worth of books.

“The Rent-A-Text program offers another cost savings alternative to the students,” O’Connor said. “The greatest advantage is the lowering of the upfront expenditure by students for the purchase of their course required materials. Renting a textbook will result in a savings of over 50 percent as compared to the cost of a new textbook.”

Students who would like to rent books can either do so at the Bookstore, pre-register online at rent-a-text.com or do an express registration at the time of their first rental transaction, O’Connor said.

“All that is required is that the student is over the age of 18, have a valid government issued ID and a credit card for collateral,” O’Connor said. “The actual transaction may be tendered utilizing cash, check, credit card or student charge. The collateral is only utilized in the event of a non-return.”

Students wishing to purchase books they had rented can do so at any time, O’Connor said. He said there are no disadvantages to the program as long as students return the books at the end of the semester.

“The failure to return will result in a full charge for the book plus penalties since that rental book will need to be replaced to ensure inventory of that title is available for rent for an upcoming term by other students,” O’Connor said.

According to O’Connor, not every textbook in the library is available for rent in the bookstore, but there is a large database from which students may choose.

“Since the Shaheen Bookstore is part of the Follett Higher Education network a large national data base of rental eligible titles is immediately available,” O’Connor said. “A faculty member may visit rent-a-text.com to view this national list as they are determining a selection for a future term.”

O’Connor said there is a local rental list that is available if a book is being used for multiple terms.

“A local rental title must meet certain criteria. The Store Manager will work closely with the faculty to identify potential additions to the national list,” he said.

Junior biology major Krystal Holtcamp said she rented her books this semester to help curb costs.

“I thought it was a really good option to be able to rent books especially me as a science major it’s very helpful because my books are so expensive,” she said.

Holtcamp said it was a simple process.

“I had a great experience,” she said. “All I had to do was show them my ID and they had it ready for me.”