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Book rentals save big $

By Kat Eichler
On September 13, 2011

   Summer sunshine is starting to fade away in Vermont. Yellow buses whiz past to deliver bouncing bodies to a restless world. The trees start to hint at colors hidden below their green shell. School is back in session.

    To Castleton, this means leaving summer lives behind for a studious lifestyle mixed with a dash of wild and crazy.

    First thing's first, a trip to the College Store. Go through the glass-paned double doors and enter the world of everything Castleton. Clothes racks adorned with everything from sweatshirts to baby clothes. Notebooks and writing supplies are proudly displayed. Although beautiful, a dreaded section lies in the back, slightly hidden.

    Did you forget you were in a bookstore?

    Four story shelves packed with five-inch-thick books and even bigger price tags. Every year students moan about the rising cost of books and the seemingly smaller and smaller selection of used books.

    Sophomore Jack O'Connor feels almost sick walking out with a receipt in hand.

"After working all summer and saving money, seeing $250 for one book and spending almost $200 on the others, well, there goes your money," says O'Connor.

    But the bookstore is now providing an alternative, allowing students to spend less time paying off their credit card bill and more time on "making it rain." It's called text book renting and it's sweeping the nation, one school at a time.

    John Schwaner is the College Store manager and is very excited about this new program. "It can save students 50 to 70 percent off the retail price of a book which can be a significant saving to the student," said Schwaner.

    After carefully considering several different companies, the store decided to affiliate with ecampus.com, a national rental company. Any student on campus can rent most books for their class in six easy steps.

"Bundled books, say for English, and custom published books are not available for rental," warns Schwaner. "It's also a payment on order system so you cannot use your student account to purchase a book rental."

    Seems convenient, right? Some would argue otherwise.

    Business professor Ed Dansereau uses an e-book in his class to keep the cost down. "From what I understand, it would cost about the same amount of money to rent a book as it would to buy a book and sell it back," says Dansereau. "Books cost money, yes, but on the other hand it's the cost of college."

    "In general, our professors are in tune with what kids are going through. Keep in mind, though, that professors are looking for the best book at the best price.


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