I was somewhat annoyed but certainly not shocked when my high-school-entering daughter’s textbooks and other required reading material ended up costing us several hundred dollars. And this was purchasing many of the books used. It’s well known that publishers, losing customers in other aspects of their business, are using their textbook publishing divisions to make some extra cash.

At one point it was assumed that e-books would completely take over the textbook market and would help drive down costs. So far that hasn’t happened much. The primary e-book customers seem to be folks who want to carry all their books around in a more convenient format. The e-books themselves often are priced similarly to the printed version.

There has been some innovation in the area though. For example. Amazon today announced Kindle Textbook Rental. The rental price paid increases the longer you keep the book.

The new Amazon service would be ideal for situations where there is a long reading list for a class. The student would then only need to rent books for the semesters where those books are being used. It doesn’t look like much would be saved for traditional full-year textbooks. A quick glance at some of the pricing indicates that renting the book for the school year costs roughly the same as buying the e-book.

Believe it or not, as I was looking in to the rental pricing I noticed that in some cases the new hardback versions of textbooks are actually priced lower than e-books. Of course, used hardback copies always cheaper than e-books. And with the Kindle books, there’s no option to sell the book at the end of the year.

So despite the new possibility of lowering e-book costs by renting, it seems that in many cases the lowest cost is. as it’s always been, the used-book market.



One Response to Textbook rental?

  1. Chacha says:

    Oh, did you say 80% cheaper for a month? I think all of my csleass were over 3 months. The shortest summer csleass were 6 weeks! If there is no deal in multiple rentals, that makes the rental… 3 x 20% = 60% of new text prices, plus any day rentals maybe during the last weeks and finals (which would make it probably cheaper to rent a full extra month, taking it down to… 80% of new text prices!)! Plus, God forbid you put notes on the thing then get too busy and forget to pay. Though perhaps you can save the notes and most colleges have wifi through which to pay? I don’t know, I think it’s a scam. Then again, the whole program (college) around it is, so why should this be different. Make it sound good, enough idiots will bite for the money makers to make a buck. When people stop, as they realize what a rip off they just bought into, the company isn’t out any hardware or software even actually, and only a small book negotiating and sales staff. (which they paid minimum wage, going over that pay only for the highest sellers) Not bad, in a world of suckers… Until, unless, the colleges get a chunk of it, then it will become mandatory. Bah!The more I think of this the more I realize whoever did suggest that there is a sucker born a minute was a fool, they are hatched like flies.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *