Students: Buying books? Rent them off Amazon instead

Students: Buying books? Rent them off Amazon instead

Summary: Save your pennies for beer tokens and neon paint - instead of buying textbooks, rent them.

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TOPICS: Amazon
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In a move which would have been met with utter delight if I still proudly said I was a student, Internet retailer Amazon has launched a new scheme which will allow students to rent, rather than buy, textbooks.

Traditionally, students often have to purchase expensive textbooks, and then once their course is completed, sell them back to stores or to other people at a marginal rate. It's nigh on impossible to claw back a fair amount of the money you've spent on now expensive doorstops, and more often than not, the books become useless as new editions come out for the next student intake.

Instead, by renting them, the company believes that the new scheme could save students up to 70 percent of this expenditure.

amazon student book rental scheme

It works through a standard Amazon search. Find the book you want, select "Rent Now", choose shipping and payment, and then head to check out. At the end of the rental period, you return the book for free through a prepaid, printable label. The due dates are stored in your Amazon account, and for those with a sieve memory, the company will send you reminders as the day approaches.

The book you rent may be a new or used copy, depending on availability. If you decide you want to keep it, then you can buy the book outright after rental.

Ripley MacDonald, Director of Textbooks at Amazon.com said:

"College is expensive, and students are always looking for ways to save money on textbooks, which is why we've long offered great prices on both new and used textbooks. With Textbook Rental, Amazon gives students yet another great option for saving money -- it's now easier than ever for students to get the books they need, in the format they want, at affordable prices. So no matter if a student wants to buy or rent their textbooks, Amazon can be their one-stop shop."

If you're notorious for covering textbooks in neon colors and scribbles, this isn't completely out of the question. Amazon says "as a courtesy to future customers, we ask that you limit your writing and highlighting to a minimal amount," so a few lines here and there are acceptable -- but if you return the book covered in beer stains and doodles, the company may charge you full price for the book after shipping it back to you.

Unfortunately, Amazon's textbook rental service is only currently available to students in the U.S. However, if it proves a success perhaps students in the UK and Europe may be able to eventually take advantage of the program.

Topic: Amazon

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2 comments
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  • Bad experience

    I rented a textbook from amazon and returned it in almost new condition. Then I received an email stating that the binding was damaged and I would be charged full retail price. I don't know if the book was actually damaged in shipping or I am being scammed. Either way, beware Amazon Rentals and go with one of the more established companies
    Jerry South
    • SAME BAD EXPERIENCE

      Be warned! I received a rental book in pretty bad shape with some water damage on the cover, but figured Amazon has recorded the book's condition prior to my receiving it. Big mistake. I returned the book (that I barely had to crack the cover), returned it well within the allotted time frame, and ended up being charged $105 because of the damage. They already have my debit information and blatently removed that $ from my account. If that wasn't bad enough, just TRY finding a contact email or phone number on Amazon's website that will allow you communicate with someone about a problem like this. I somehow, after 45 minutes of searching, found an email address and I wasn't even sure that it would go thru. I did get a response back stating that the returns of rental books is an "automated process" and they would refund my $. As it sits now, it's over 2 months later and I still do not have my $ back. I tried to find the contact email again, and was unable to. I will NEVER EVER rent from Amazon again.
      galord