Indiana State, Barnes & Noble to offer textbook rental

May 19, 2010

When new students arrive for orientation this year at Indiana State University, in addition to learning about campus life they will learn about an innovative way to save money on textbooks.

This fall, Indiana State and Barnes & Noble College Booksellers are offering a new textbook rental program designed to deliver maximum savings and convenience, according to ISU and Barnes & Noble officials.

From a large selection of new and used textbooks, the program will allow students to rent books for up to half the cost of purchasing new copies. Students will also have the convenience of being able to rent books either in the story or from the store's Web site, www.indiana-state.bncollege.com.

"We are delighted to announce this new venture with Barnes & Noble and are pleased to be one of only a handful of participating Indiana colleges and universities," said John Beacon, vice president for enrollment management, marketing and communications. "We know purchasing textbooks is a very real financial burden for many of our students and their families. Providing all of our students with the option to lease at least a portion of their textbooks seems a very effective way to help contain a portion of the cost of a college education."

In the first year of the program, ISU anticipates about 400 titles will qualify for the rental option, Beacon said. The program will be available to both new and returning students.

"We are committed to providing students with the widest range of content options and price points available," said Ann Fraley, vice president at Barnes & Noble College Booksellers. "Whether students are interested in new books, used, digital, unbundled, or now rentals, they know they can find what they want at the ISU Bookstore."

The program will allow students to:
• Pay rental fees using any form of payment currently accepted by the bookstore, including student financial aid and campus debit cards (for security reasons, a valid credit card must be provided regardless of the method of payment)
• Highlight or mark rented books just as they would if they purchased a book and planned to sell it back to the bookstore
• Convert rentals to purchases within the first two weeks of class
• Keep the books throughout the semester and return them in person or by mail no later than 10 days after the last day of final exams
• Remain informed about rental return dates through courtesy emails.

Barnes & Noble began piloting its rental program earlier this year at 25 campus bookstores across the country and response from students has been tremendous, Fraley said. Students like the option of getting their books immediately, as opposed to waiting for a shipment to arrive, and they appreciate knowing the books they rent are guaranteed to be the right books for their classes, she said.

More than 90 percent of students surveyed said they would rent from their campus bookstore again.

While the rental of textbooks offers the lowest up-front cost, a used textbook remains the least expensive option provided it is being reused by a faculty member for the next term and can be sold back to the bookstore for 50 percent of its purchase price, according to Barnes & Noble. ISU students will continue to have the option of purchasing used textbooks when available.

Students who fail to return books or return them in unusable condition may be responsible for replacement and processing fees.

Contact: John Beacon, vice president for enrollment management, marketing and communications, Indiana State University, 812-237-3560 or john.beacon@indstate.edu