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Rental textbooks popular among students

Another choice is available for students when it comes to the high cost of textbooks.

The University Bookstore has implemented a pilot textbook rental program. Books for geology, basic calculus and public relations are available for rent this semester.

Making textbooks available for rent was a collaborative effort, said University Bookstore Director Jeff Nelson.

“We worked with Faculty Senate and many professors from different departments because we wanted to do something for the students in terms of books and their high costs,” Nelson said.

Additionally legislation was passed in the Ohio Senate for colleges to take action to alleviate the rising cost of textbooks.

When deciding which books to make an option for rent, Nelson said several factors were considered. Books that don’t frequently change editions, books used in introductory and survey classes, and books that don’t have lab manuals and CDs are the best candidates for renting.

“Not every book is ideal for renting, especially when you get to the higher-level courses,” Nelson said.

Once the three books were chosen, the committee looked at the size of the class and took a percentage of those classes to make certain number of books available.

So far the program has been met with success, Nelson said. There has been positive feedback from the faculty members, and a survey will be conducted at the end of the semester to measure students’ satisfaction.

All of the books for public relations and calculus available were rented, and 54 of the 80 geology books were rented.

Freshman Erica Clubbs, who is taking calculus this semester, said she likes the renting option.

“I’m not going to keep the book anyway, plus it’s cheaper and easier to rent the book,” Clubbs said.

For calculus student Chris Ibold, the high cost he would normally have to pay for the book was the main reason why he chose to rent this semester.

“To me it’s better than paying the full $100, and when you go to sell it back at the end of the semester, you only get a small amount back,” Ibold said.

Other students, like freshman Patrick Armbruster, would have appreciated the option to rent their book, but were unaware of this choice.

“I would have liked to rent my book, but I had no idea that was an option. I think the University should have advertised this program more,” Armbruster said.

Nelson said he hopes to rent out more books next fall.

“We want to expand the program and [make] this another option in the future, but students shouldn’t expect every book to be available to rent because not every book meets the criteria,” Nelson said. “It’s not like a T-shirt where you can go to another company,” Nelson said.

Textbook prices are set by the publishers, and then the University uses a standard markup system when setting the final price. Nelson said books with more charts, graphs, colorful illustrations and other supplements often drive up the cost of a textbook.

“Students think we [the University Bookstore] just want to rip them off, but publishers set the price,” Nelson said.

The book rental program being used is modeled after a university in California that has seen similar results.

Currently BGSU is the only university in Ohio that has a rental program of this kind, Nelson said.


Geology 100: New: $123, Used: $92, Rental: $43

Journalism 340: New: $66, Used: $49.50, Rental: $23

Math 126: New: $107, Used: $80, Rental: $38


– Students renting books must sign an agreement that books will be in acceptable condition upon returning (i.e. the binding isn’t broken).

– If a book is lost, the student is responsible for full cost of the book.

– The rented textbook is returned at the time of buyback at the end of the semester

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