SGA discusses textbook rental program for IUS Bookstore

IUS Horizon

After the week-long break, the Student Government Association got back to work by discussing a possible Barnes & Noble book rental pilot program.

During the Thursday, April 1, meeting, SGA press secretary Candice Boudreaux, business junior, introduced a textbook rental program resolution to urge members of the IUS faculty to support the IUS Bookstore possibly running a pilot program with IU Bloomington.

The program would offer students the option of renting textbooks instead of purchasing them outright.

“We support the exploration, of the university as whole, pursuing the textbook [rental] program,” Boudreaux said.

Boudreaux said the purpose of her resolution is to show Abbey Stemler, IU student trustee, that she has the support of all the IU campuses to explore a textbook rental program.

During the 2009 fall semester, Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, a subsidiary of Barnes & Noble, introduced a pilot program in three of its 636 bookstores.

Since then, the program has been expanded to 25 campuses, including Ohio State University, University of South Carolina and the University of Maryland.

“We’ve had a tremendous response from students and faculty to our rental program and, as a result, have continued to expand it to other colleges and universities across the country,” Max Roberts, president of Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, said in a recent press release.

Boudreaux said she is suggesting a book rental program in order to help the students.

“We want the students to have the most affordable way of purchasing and using their textbooks,” Boudreaux said.

At the moment, students can rent their textbooks from online services like www.chegg.com, www.campusbookrentals.com and www.bookrenter.com.

For example, students can rent “The Law of Journalism & Mass Communication” by Trager, Russomanno and Ross for $35.42 from www.chegg.com or buy a used edition online from the Barnes & Noble at the IUS Bookstore for $63.70.

SGA senator Johann Pedolzky, political science and philosophy senior, explained the business model of the textbook rental industry. Pedolzky serves on the bookstore advisory committee.

“Basically, the way it works, all textbook rentals rent them to you for 50 percent of the value of the book,” Pedolzky said. “They won’t make any money until the third semester.”

Pedolzky said a portion of the high cost of textbooks might lie in the hands of the professors. One way of lowering textbook prices is to have professors use the same textbook each semester.

He said programs like the sciences, with large enrollments, are ideal for book rentals.

“Take psychology for example,” Pedolzky said. “All the intro-level psychology classes could all use the same textbook. Just say they are going to use the same textbook for three or four semesters.”

By MATTHEW CHINN

Staff Writer

mchinn@umail.iu.edu