Concordia's textbook rentals a hit

Bookstore manager Kia Lor holds up the price tag of a textbook which demonstrates the disparity between renting and buying.

Bookstore manager Kia Lor holds up the price tag of a textbook which demonstrates the disparity between renting and buying. Photo By Michael Meidenbauer

Aug. 21, 2013

Mequon — Concordia University Wisconsin is among a minority of universities nationwide offering students the option to rent textbooks from the campus bookstore.

In its third semester at Concordia, the rental program offered through third-party bookstore vendor Follett has grown to encompass nearly 700 titles, or about half of all available books. On average, said bookstore manager Kia Lor, the rental program saves students about 50 percent of the cost of purchasing a new or used book.

"Some students always assume books are more expensive at a bookstore," Lor said, "but when they compare prices they see it's cheaper here."

Other area universities are also working in conjunction with Follett, including Alverno College, Cardinal Stritch, Carroll University, and Marquette University, which has also implemented the book rental program. Follett estimates book rentals have saved students more than $450 million at all of its partner schools nationwide.

According to Lor, book rentals are especially convenient in general-education, big-lecture classes where students only need to use the book for the one semester before returning it. By re-renting the books a number of times, the bookstore can still make a profit while offering materials at a lower price — a win-win in Lor's book.

"In the long run, it will pay for that difference," Lor said. "That makes a difference."

It's a big convenience, said nursing student Alyssa Crass, who would have otherwise gone to an online store to rent if the bookstore didn't offer the service.

"It's nice to have it here now," Crass said. "You can get everything all at one time."

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