Barnes & Noble Breaks Into Textbook Rental Market

Booksellers see the potential of renting textbooks to college kids.

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There's been a lot of fuss about the emerging textbook rental market in the United States. It gives college students a release from the wallet-crunching costs of purchasing expensive textbooks that no one ever wants after you've used them for one semester, and it certainly gives you a chance to lower the hidden costs of college that you don't see in your acceptance packets. I spent countless end-of-semester days trying to convince buyers that my formerly $200 textbook had barely been used and was still worth something. (Look no farther than my bookcase to see how successful I was.)

Well, there's a new group moving into textbook rentals: Barnes & Noble. The major bookseller is going full force into the new area, according to a Barnes & Noble release (hat tip, Chronicle of Higher Education). After testing out a pilot program at three schools, Barnes & Noble will allow students to rent textbooks at 25 campus bookstores across the country, the company says. 

"We've had a tremendous response from students and faculty to our rental program and, as a result, have continued to expand it to other colleges and universities across the country," Max Roberts, president of Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, says in the release. "What makes our program so unique is that we've made saving on textbooks even easier for students by providing them the option of ordering their rentals online and having them shipped or picked up at their campus bookstore." 

Who know what impact the move will have on the big-money market that is college textbook sales, but it's certainly a warning shot to booksellers on college campuses across the country. With sites like Chegg and CourseSmart already making inroads in textbook rental, Barnes & Noble adds a big name and credibility to a blossoming market. 

[Get tips on How to Save Money on College Textbooks.] 

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