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Business and Policy Areas
Business and Policy Areas

More Institutions Offering Textbook Rental Options

January 27, 2011

According  to the National Association of College Stores (NACS), the high cost of  textbooks may impact whether students will purchase the books they need. To  avoid this dilemma, textbooks can now be rented for between 33 percent and 55  percent of the original purchase price.

Many college and university campus stores are offering this option to their students with approximately 2,200 college stores offering textbook rental programs this  past fall. This is an impressive increase over the 300 institutions offering  the option in 2009, exceeding NACS original estimates that textbook rental  programs would be offered at 1,500 campuses by fall 2010, based on anecdotal  evidence. Although such programs entail risk and cost to stores, NACS expects  the trend to continue.

According to NACS survey, two-thirds of the schools offering book rental programs plan  to expand their selections within the next 12 months, and 43 percent of stores that did not have a rental option in 2010 plan to offer one within the next 12 months. NACS estimates that, by next fall, 3,300 schools will offer textbook  rental programs.

Of the college stores that have book rental programs, 786 are run by Follet Higher Education  Group, 300 by Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, and 300 by Nebraska Book  Co. Additionally, students can opt to rent books through vendors like Chegg or  Bookrenter. While these alternatives have been competition to university store programs in the past, these vendors are beginning to work directly with college stores. Such partnerships will make book rental options feasible at smaller institutions or institutions that do not have the financial capital or space to offer rental program on their campus.

NACS is a  professional trade association and represents more than 3,000 collegiate retailers. Please visit their website for more information on textbook rentals.


Anne Gross
Vice President, Regulatory Affairs