One of the main staples of college budgeting is textbooks. The buggers can individually cost more than a week’s wage (depending on the employer and taxes), and their value is similar to that of diamonds—the second they are purchased, the resale price plummets to painfully low numbers. Since many do not keep their textbooks after the semester has ended, a solution to saving cash is textbook rental.
Textbook rental has been around for a while through third-party services, and the Consortium Library has even promoted websites such as Chegg, Amazon and CampusBooks.com for students interested in cheap textbook rentals. These options did work as alternatives to the Bookstore, but one of those most risky things about ordering from an online service and living in Alaska is the gamble that must be taken in terms of shipping.
In order to actually save money by renting a textbook or buying a used one online, it’s in the renter’s best interest to choose the cheapest option available — but any long-term resident of the state is well-aware that things never ship to the Last Frontier on time. Sure, faster shipping is an option, but a used textbook order from Amazon can spike from $100 to up to $150 by selecting five-day shipping options alone. All the extra effort of going online can be quickly negated by pricey shipping.
The UAA Bookstore is now stepping up to the plate to become a local competitor of other online services, guaranteeing faster, more reliable textbook rental and delivery than ever before by providing an alternative that eliminates the cost and time of ordering from out of state. Starting July 1, students can go to the Bookstore and start renting textbooks for the fall.
The process is simple; just look around on the Bookstore shelves, and titles available for rent are labeled as such. Should you happen to miss the label, when a title available for rent is scanned by a cashier, they will ask you if you would like to buy or rent the book. Renting is cheaper, but the option to buy is still available.
UAA Bookstore’s assistant administrator John Smart is enthusiastic about the beginning of the rental program. A part-time student himself, he knows the benefits of being able to rent books. However, he stresses that the program is still in its beginning stages of development, and the Bookstore is hard at work coordinating with UAA faculty to make more titles available for the fall.
“We started a pilot program this summer, and we did two books, just so we can try to get the kinks out of our system,” said Smart. “Fall, we’re planning to do a lot more — we actually don’t know the number yet.”
If the Bookstore does carry the textbook you want to rent, then all you have to do is rent it out at the cashier’s desk and you’re taken care of for the rest of the semester — that is, until the end of the semester rolls around. There’s a due date for the textbooks, and a $5 a day fee will be charged to students who turn in their textbooks late. If the textbook is more than five days late, however, the 110 percent of the textbook’s price is charged to the student’s credit card or student account. But if the book is kept in good shape and is turned in on time, there’s nothing to worry about.
UAA Bookstore’s fall semester textbook rental service begins on July 1 and goes through August 12. For more details about the rental program, stop by UAA’s Bookstore and pick up a free copy of their textbook rental agreement.