Bookstore implements trial rental service

Adelle Whitefoot

The Northern Michigan University Bookstore is giving students the option to rent their textbooks this fall as a way to save money.

The Textbook Rental Program started Friday, Aug. 13 for students to use.  Books will be available to rent until the end of the third week of classes.  When a student rents a book this semester it must be returned by Monday, Dec. 13 to the bookstore.

“Rental programs have been around at colleges and universities for most of the last 100 years in different formats,” said Paul Wright, NMU Bookstore assistant manager. “We are always looking for additional services and programs that we can offer to students.”

Paul Wright has been overseeing the completion and execution of the Textbook Rental Program.  This is the first semester that NMU has offered students the option to rent their textbooks, so there is a limited selection of textbooks that are available for rent.  Currently there are 36 titles that are part of the program, he said.

“This is our ‘beta test’ semester,” said Wright. “The NMU Bookstore has made a select number of their most popular textbooks available for rental (this semester).”

The new Textbook Rental Program gives students the option to rent rather than buy their textbooks. Select titles were made available Aug. 13 and are due back to the bookstore by Dec. 13. // Justin Key/NW

To rent a textbook, students have to provide their NMU IN, NMU e-mail and a valid credit card at the cash register. Rented textbooks are approximately 50 percent off the cost of a new book.

“For example, the PY 100L textbook is available to purchase used for $114.40,” said Wright. “The (PY 100L textbook) is also available to rent for $71.85.”

The student’s credit card will be charged a late fee and a replacement fee if the book that is rented is not returned to the bookstore on time. Students will be sent a reminder e-mail prior to the end of the semester.

“Students need to remember to take care of and return the rental book(s),” said Michael Kuzak, NMU Bookstore manager.

The most difficult part of a starting a rental program is the start-up costs, which include purchasing the inventory, Kuzak said.  All books that are rented by NMU Bookstore are part of Nebraska Book Company’s (NBC) rental partnership program. To eliminate the start-up cost, the books will be made available to NBC at the end of each semester to then sell to college stores around the country.

“The rental program is a great way for the NMU Bookstore to expand our services to those students who find rentals to be useful for their needs,” Kuzak said.

Jackie Wiles, a sophomore majoring in digital cinema, is one student who has taken advantage of the Textbook Rental Program.

“It was originally going to be $139 to buy new, and I have to pay my parents back for my books,” said Wiles.  “So the cheaper the book the better.”

Wiles was allowed to rent one of the six books that she had to get this semester. She rented Sociology 101 textbook for about $84 as opposed to purchasing it used for $104.75.

“I do recommend renting your books, because your books in general are cheaper,” said Wiles.  “Even though you won’t get money back at the end, you save money by renting.”