Bookstore to rent textbooks

May 10, 2010, 1:00 a.m.

Textbooks for rent?

That may be the case fall quarter, when the Stanford Bookstore says it will join more than 500 other schools in the country participating in Follett’s Rent-a-Text program, which rents textbooks to students by the quarter.

Bookstore to rent textbooks
(BRIAN HOWALD/The Stanford Daily)

The scheme is new to Stanford’s bookstore, but has met with positive response from students elsewhere, said store director Janet Gawley, who claimed rental costs are half the “full retail” book price.

This could be good news for students who have bought their textbooks through the Stanford bookstore in the past.

“Fall quarter, I bought my textbooks here, but then I realized just how expensive it was,” said Rasheedat Zakare-Fagbamila ’13. “I’m on financial aid, but my financial aid doesn’t cover textbooks.”

Zakare-Fagbamila said she ordered her books from the following quarter, which proved less expensive, but came with a shipping delay. Gawley said rentable books will be placed alongside new and used texts for sale before the beginning of the term.

But it remains to be seen how many titles will be available for rent next fall, as Stanford’s quarter begins a month later, in some cases, than other universities whose bookstores buy texts from wholesalers.

Grawley cited the need for professors to submit their book requests early as another factor in how the rental program will fare.

The process of renting textbooks is the same as purchasing them. Students can pay for the rented textbooks via cash, debit or, if they are on financial aid, the Stanford Card Plan. The return policy for the textbooks is the same, and students may mark up the pages.

“However,” Gawley said, “if the book were to be totally destroyed, then you would have to return the rental and purchase a new copy at full price.”

“Our whole mission is to get as many rented titles in and available to students as possible,” Gawley added.

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