The BYU Store has increased the number of textbook titles available to rent by 35 percent in response to the growing number of students choosing to rent rather than buy.
A total of 2,360 books were rented from the BYU Store during the Winter 2015 semester and the store predicts even greater numbers of book rentals in the future. Initial cost savings is just one of the reasons students opt to rent their textbooks rather than purchase them.
“The average rental prices are usually 30 to 40 percent less than the retail prices,” BYU Store Academic Resources Buyer Cindy Jensen said. “The discount on used rentals is usually higher.”
Books must be returned at the end of the semester. Students will be charged the difference of the cost and an additional $5 late fee if they do not return the books.
“Some of my books have cost more than $200 brand new,” said BYU student Nicole Johnson, an elementary education major. “So whenever renting was an option, it was always a no-brainer.”
All book titles for rent have a sign showing new and used prices in addition to the rent-it-for price. If a certain textbook at the BYU Store currently costs $213.80 brand new. Used it would be $160.35. However, it can be rented new for $131.60 or used for $78.15.
“I always look around for the best price before buying my textbooks,” Johnson said. “I have a hard time paying so much money, especially when I won’t necessarily need the book for the future. That’s why renting is such a good option.”
Renting isn’t always the cheapest option. Students can often sell their books back for close to what they bought them for at the end of the semester.
“It’s actually more cost effective to buy the book if there’s a chance it will be used the next semester,” Jensen explained. “BYU will buy back books depending on if the professor adopts it again for the next semester and how many students are registered for the course.”
Books rented from the BYU Store can be used just like books that are purchased. Students are free to highlight and make some notes in rented books. “Highlighting, underlining, taking notes in the margins is all allowed,” Jensen said. “What you don’t want to do is bring your book back water damaged or obliterated to the point where it’s no longer readable.”
Deciding whether to buy or rent depends on each student’s situation. Students who purchase new or used books and sell them back can sometimes obtain similar savings, but students can lock in the savings up front with a rental.