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A New Way to Save Money on Textbooks

Jan 10, 2008
When I was in college, I was lucky enough to have a couple of scholarships that covered my tuition and lodging expenses during my first two years. As an eighteen year old (naive and clueless), I thought I had it made. However I forgot about the kryptonite of all college students -- textbooks.

Textbook prices on college campus are reaching a level of ridiculousness that should be reserved for hotel mini-bars and posh Beverly Hills clothing stores. Ok, perhaps I'm being a bit facetious, but having worked in a college bookstore during my freshman year, I am all too aware of the drastic mark-up implemented by bookstores.

The selling and reselling of books is a major income source for colleges and universities. Professors are often pressured by schools to assign books. Savvy professors, being that they have a vested interest in helping the school they work for make money, have gotten pretty good at assigning books that are difficult to obtain (other than at the university bookstore) or require the latest edition, printed just a few months earlier of course, preventing anybody from getting the same book anywhere else (former students for example).

The biggest problem is that students can hardly boycott buying textbooks in order to save money. Most college professors don't assign textbooks unless they intend to use them. Therefore students are backed into a corner, so to speak, forcing them to either spend the hundreds of dollars on the books or go without.

In the 21st century, websites like Half.com, Amazon.com and Alibris have become leading resellers for used textbooks in the online space. Providing used textbooks and a dramatically lower cost has driven competition and lead to the preliminary fall of the traditional college bookstore.

Saving on Textbooks with Book Rentals

Now there is a new contender in the marketplace. In the spirit of Netflix and GameFly comes online textbook rental companies that may change the face of how students get textbooks. Applying a very similar system to books as Netflix uses for movies, online book-rental companies typically charge students a flat fee for up to one semester's use of a textbook, at the end of which the books are returned to the warehouse.

Textbook rental companies provides the shipping both ways, so there are no hidden handling fees. Intuitive online interfaces make it simple to shop for the textbooks you need by title, author, subject or ISBN. This is a quick, easy, and affordable way to find the book rentals you need, avoid the long lines, and save money on your college education.
About the Author
Art Gib writes for BookRenter.com (http://www.bookrenter.com), who are revolutionizing the way students work their way through college by offering college textbook and book rentals online.
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