Buying textbooks for school sucks, there are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. A lot of times, textbook money goes to waste because some classes don’t even take advantage of the books you are expected you to purchase. Other times, textbooks are priced higher because they come bundled with associated software; software that, many times, is never used.
In a digital age, like the one we currently live in, it is difficult to fathom why you would be required to participate in such archaic practices as owning an actual textbook. Okay, so maybe “archaic” is a little bit exaggerated, but you get the point.
Regardless, physical textbook copies shouldn’t cost so much, but the honest truth is- they do, and that will never change.
Buying Numerous Textbooks For College Gets Expensive
The point here is that buying textbooks for college is an expensive process, and it leaves most of us tremendously bitter. After spending as much as $150-$200 per book, you are left with a golf ball sized lump in your throat.
Luckily, Amazon has started a new service that will allow students to rent paper and physical copies of textbooks. Of course, Amazon has already been renting textbooks for some time now, but they were previously only renting digital ebook copies.
Several other companies like Barnes and Noble, Cheng and Ecampus have also been renting digital and physical copies of textbooks for a while. It looks as though ultimately Amazon is catching on.
Rent Your Textbooks Through Amazon
Amazon will allow students to rent a physical textbook for a semester term which is 130 days according to them. If the normal semester length, or 130 days, is not enough students can also purchase one 15 day extension for additional time.
Upon being rented, the textbook will be shipped to the student in new, or gently used condition with Amazon paying for all the shipping costs, including the shipment back to Amazon’s warehouse.
Prices vary, and depend on the cost of the textbook being rented, but Amazon estimates you will save up to 70% by renting as opposed to purchasing a textbook through a retail store.
If you want to keep the textbook longer, you will be allowed one 15 day extension and then you will be charged for an entire semester if the book is not returned after the extension. Books must be returned in what Amazon claims to be “acceptable renting condition,” which means the book must be free of the following defects:
- Water damage (wavy, swollen or discolored, crinkled, stains, rings),
- Broken spine or binding,
- Cover is not torn or taped,
- Missing, torn, or loose pages,
- Burns, fire, or smoke damage,
- Strong odor of any kind (including musty odor, cigar or cigarette odor),
- Excessive writing or highlighting.
You are allowed to write and highlight in the rented textbook, however if the markup is “excessive” Amazon will charge you the full price and ship the book back into your possession.
Why Do Physical Textbook Rentals Matter?
Not everyone is comfortable with the digital eBook scene. Some folks just want to have a tangible and physical copy of their book, especially when it comes to an expensive book like most college textbooks. Even though, Amazon has rented ebooks in the past, this is the first time they are making physical copies available.
In addition, Amazon has repurchased used textbooks from students for some time now, but instead of giving money in return, they usually dole out Amazon gift cards. Now, there are more opportunities to sell a textbook and roll that money back into renting for the next semester, especially considering you can’t use Amazon gift cards everywhere.
By the way, superb timing Amazon, this news is just in time for back to school season too. If you need more information on Amazon’s new textbook rental service be sure to check out their official FAQ.