Barnes and Noble offers rentals at universities

The rental program is not offered at the MU Bookstore.

Although MU's textbook rental program only began this semester, Barnes and Noble is not expecting to expand its new rental program to retail locations.

The company has developed a rental program for its universities nationwide.

The textbooks that can be rented include new, used and digital books, which can be rented at a lower price. They can be purchased online or at the university's bookstore with student charge. This program will not be available at the MU bookstore or at the local Barnes and Noble retail location. The universities with the Barnes and Nobles rental program are those universities that buy all their textbooks from the company.

The University of Missouri purchases books from a variety of publishers and sells them directly to students.

"MU is an institutional bookstore, which means it is run by the university," Student and Auxiliary Services spokeswoman Michelle Froese said. "The great thing about that is that the profits stay on campus."

Although MU's program is in its infancy, a similar program at Missouri University of Science of Technology saved students more than $92,000 during three semesters, according to a previous Maneater report.

"Rental prices on the 50 titles at Mizzou average approximately 35 to 46 percent of the new book price," Froese said. "This seems to be a standard pricing model for rental books throughout the industry."

"Professors choose the books so we give the students a chance to choose purchase point and type," said Jade Roth, vice president of books for Barnes and Noble College Booksellers.

The pilot program was implemented at a few universities last fall, and Roth said it was well received.

"Students responded to the upfront savings they get with the rental," she said.

Due to the positive response, the number of bookstores using this program have increased from three to 25.

According to a news release from Barnes and Noble, the number includes The Ohio State University, The University of Maryland and the University of South Carolina.

Roth said Barnes and Noble is working on continued expansion and might eventually expand the rental program to all 636 of its university bookstores.

Froese said the books most likely to be rented were those for general education course requirements because students might not need those books in the future.

More than 3,100 books have been rented at the MU Bookstore, and Froese said if students rented all 50 titles instead of purchased them, the savings would be more than $600,000.

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