Bookstores expand into rental territory

Amy Kreeger

Textbook stores are looking to expand the selections of books available for rent.

The Village Commons Bookstore and the University Bookstore have launched rental programs to make getting books for the semester cheaper.

“We have 50 titles and 1,000 books available and will continue to be making more books available for rent the longer the program goes on,” said VCB textbook manager Robert Farrah.

Farrah said rentals are usually 50 percent off the regular price.

University Bookstore manager Marcy Kalvelage said fall was its first semester with the program, and it has faced some challenges.

“The main difficulty we had last semester [was] people not returning the books,” Kalvelage said.

When a student rents a book from the University Bookstore they are required to sign a rental agreement with a student ID, said assistant bookstore manager James Wayman.

Farrah said they started offering the rental program to stay in competition with other companies that offer rentals.

“It was developed in response to the companies who offer books to be rented online,” Farrah said. “The students seem to really like it.”

Some students think purchasing textbooks every semester becomes too costly.

“Buying your books every semester is way too expensive, and they don’t give you a reasonable amount back at the end of the semester,” said junior business major Christina Donnelly.

Donnelly said she didn’t rent any of her books from the bookstores because they didn’t have them.

“I would consider the rental program more if they had books that are customized for NIU, but right now they don’t have enough selection,” Donnelly said.

Senior biology major Omolola Aderibole said she thinks the program is long overdue and is only being done because bookstores are becoming aware of the effects on sales from textbook charges.

Timothy Wallace, junior pre-physical therapy major, said he didn’t know the program existed.

“I think they need to promote the program more,” Wallace said, “If I would have known about it, I would have gone there first for my textbooks.”

Farrah said the VCB requires a credit card for rentals.

“We keep their credit card number on file in case a student doesn’t bring the book back,” Farrah said. “If they don’t bring it back by a certain date we charge them the remaining cost they would have paid for the book at full price.”

Dave Baker, manager of Copy Service, 1005 W. Lincoln Highway, said the store began offering books for sale on Jan. 17. Baker said they also offer rentals on certain textbooks. Baker said the price for rental verses buying can vary depending on the textbook.

“If you buy a book for $200 but the same book is available to rent for $79 and then you go to sell the book back and only get $65 for it you’re out $135 instead of just $79,” he said.

Baker said if a book is available to rent the student signs a renter’s agreement and validates it with a credit card.