Rental offers cheaper alternative

Gordon Bates | The Daily Wildcat Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat The UofA Bookstore is doing a book rental program this spring to help cut the overall costs that students and their families incur during a school semester. Students Karen Garcia, a pre-buisiness sophomore, and Aldo Figueroa, a pre-physiology sophomore, are seen here in the lower level of the bookstore checking out their books that they rented for the semester.

With new options around campus, textbook renting might become more popular than purchasing.

The Arizona Bookstore will begin renting about 450 different textbooks today, said Donny Berecz, the store manager.


""We've chosen titles that we feel like will be used in the future at the UA, and we wanted students to have the option of at least renting one book from us. We scaled every department, and the majority has five to 10 books for rent,"" Berecz said.

Political science sophomore Aaron Elyachar shared his take on the new textbook rental option while on his way to the UofA Bookstore to pick up his pre-ordered textbooks.

""It seems like a great deal if you're only taking one or two classes, but kind of a waste for a full-time student,"" Elyachar said. 

The Arizona Bookstore started the program to adapt to students' needs and requests, and to compete with other textbook-renting companies.

""We had suggestions from students, and other sources on web have started to do renting, so we figured it was the right time to bring in more clientele,"" Berecz said.

The textbooks will run at 50 percent of the retail price, and students will have the choice of renting the books as new or used. Students are expected to return the books by the last day of finals or they will be charged the 50 percent retail price in addition to a restocking fee. Berecz said he believes that the textbook rental option will affect the UofA Bookstore sales.

""The other store does the textbook rental to some extent, but not at our scale,"" he said.

The Arizona Bookstore advertised the rental option over the winter recess and even marketed textbook sale bargains for those who wish to buy their books.

""We've already seen an increase in people coming into the store and asking about it,"" he said Monday.

Even with the rental availability, some students would still prefer to buy their books.

""I'd rather have my own books,"" said Jacob Conner, a music freshman.

""That way, if something happens to the textbooks, it's not a big deal. Plus, I can also give them away to friends at the end of the semester,"" Conner said.

The Arizona Bookstore textbook rental program could eventually rent out more books and reach out to more students and professors.

""If this becomes a big thing, professors are welcome to call and ask if their books can be rented,"" Berecz said. ""Two or three have already called and asked to put their books on rent. It all depends on how long we think they're going to keep using it.""

Arizona Bookstore is not the only campus bookstore with a textbook rental option.

Cindy Hawk, assistant director of UofA Bookstore, said that the UofA Bookstore has done textbook rentals since 2007.

""We rent out less than 40 books, and we work with professors to promote rentals to class,"" Hawk said. ""We need a faculty commitment to use the book.""

The books' rent cost is 60 percent of the new book price, and the rental option is printed on the booklist, on back-to-school advertisements and on the UofA Bookstore Web site.

""We've been successful with the ones we've rented, but if parents pay for their students' books, students will want to receive cash back at the end of the semester. These students prefer to rent because the cash back won't go back to mom and dad,"" Hawk said.

Elyachar reiterated Hawk's claim, saying, ""You're better off buying the books so you can get at least some cash back at the end of the semester.""

Hawk noted that students who pay for their own books generally opt for textbook rental. 

""Everyone sees that there's a pressure for more textbook options, and with the cost of education rising we have a commitment to find the best price for students,"" said faculty relations coordinator Christopher Schafer.

""There's lots of stuff out there, such as e-books, that's not within our control,"" Schafer said.

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