“This is the first term in a long time that we have something to be excited about,” Amber Simmons, director of bookstores, said about the Linfield Bookstore’s new book rental program.
The program allows students to rent textbooks for lower prices than it would cost to buy them. Simmons estimated that students could save 40 percent off the price of a new book if they rent it and 65 percent off the price of a new book if they borrow a used copy.
“It’s really important for us in the bookstore to make sure all the students have books and have books the most inexpensive way,” Simmons said.
The bookstore offers more than 200 rental books in Linfield’s nursing, continuing education and arts and sciences programs. Simmons called it a dynamic rental system because students have the option of buying the books if they prefer to do so. They can also buy any book they’re currently renting by paying the original difference.
Students may rent books for Fall Semester until the first week of December and will receive an e-mail from when rentals are due back. No rentals are offered for January Term, but Spring Semester titles go online the second week of January.
About are also about 50 e-books to purchase or rent.
Simmons said she hopes the system will make the Linfield Bookstore more competitive with other textbook retailers, such as Amazon.com, since she can lower prices to match those of other rental companies.
The system will put more used books in the system, which will save students money in the future. And while Simmons said she hopes to inevitably turn a profit, for now it’s all about increasing business volume and generating good karma.
“It’s a very workable [system], and it’s very geared toward the student and what’s best for the student,” Simmons said. “I’m hoping that students will embrace the new program and support it and help us to make it bigger and better every term.”
The bookstore staff began preparing in March for Fall Semester book sales. The early start complied with a new federal law regarding books and class registration, Simmons said.
The Higher Education Opportunity Act, which took effect in July, mandates that textbook titles be available to students when registering for classes, she said. This allows students the option of purchasing books from sources besides the school.
Offering book titles early required professors to give their textbook lists to the bookstore earlier than in the past. Since she knew what books to stock, Simmons said Linfield saw the largest end-of-semester buy-back, in terms of dollars, that she has seen in her 13 years at the bookstore.
Big buy-back means more used books, too. Simmons said 85 percent of this semester’s stock comprises used books, compared with the typical 65 percent.
Wait to buy
Students may be tempted to reserve their books online as soon as they register for classes, but Simmons said it may be better to wait.
“Professors change their books and don’t tell us, and students have already bought those books,” Jo Webb, bookstore text manger and buyer, said.
This predicament is one of Simmons’ biggest fears.
“Unfortunately, if you go and buy it from somewhere else, I can sell you another one, but I can’t take that wrong book back,” Simmons said.
Because of this, Simmons and Webb agreed that students should buy from the bookstore a few days before classes begin, when textbook requirements are confirmed.
For the many students who buy their books after classes begin, Simmons recommended getting to the bookstore when it opens at 8:30 a.m. or shopping off the hour, such as at 3:30 p.m. instead of at 3 p.m., when the lines are shortest.
by Kelley Hungerford/Editor-in-chief
Kelley Hungerford can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org