Getting Book Smart: Rental Concept for Textbooks Saves Oklahoma's College Students Money

By Brus, Brian | THE JOURNAL RECORD, July 22, 2010 | Go to article overview

Getting Book Smart: Rental Concept for Textbooks Saves Oklahoma's College Students Money


Brus, Brian, THE JOURNAL RECORD


College students at schools across the state are being given an alternative to buying expensive textbooks and trying to resell them at the end of the semester.

"We are eager to launch Rent-A-Text because we are committed to providing students with affordable textbook choices," Rose State College bookstore manager Mark Smith said. "And we expect to reclaim some market share that's been lost over the years to online sales."

Follett Higher Education Group, which manages the Rose State College bookstore, announced the program after favorable outcomes with previous test runs at other colleges. The company is expected to reach 400 campuses this year.

The same program is being offered at schools including Cameron University in Lawton and Oklahoma State University in Tulsa.

"Helping to reduce the costs of higher education is part of our mission, and we look forward to working with Cameron University to deliver substantial textbook savings to students," Follett President Thomas A. Christopher said.

The book rental concept has taken off quickly and companies are scrambling to secure their market share. In June, for example, Bookrenter.com raised about $10 million in a second round of venture capital funding. Chegg.com, BookRenter's biggest competitor, has collected about $145 million in cash and debt financing.

Chegg competes directly against bookstores by renting books from its own warehouse, while BookRenter has been developing collaborative relationships with schools.

The typical rental agreement allows students to pick up most of their general education or core curriculum study materials at about half the price they're used to paying. …

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