Textbooks for second semester will be ready for order from Concordia’s bookstore on Dec. 3 and a new option will be available for students.
After running a beta test of 40 rental textbook titles during the fall semester, the bookstore hopes to increase the number of titles available to rent to somewhere between 150 to 200 for second semester, said the bookstore’s assistant director Brent Seewald-Marquardt.
“Our overall goal is to rent every book possible that we can that saves the students some money,” said PJ Hines, director of bookstore operations.
Hines said that students still have the same benefits with renting as they do with purchases. They are still able to charge purchases to their student IDs and make returns or exchanges to get their money back during the first four class days of the semester. Just as with other textbooks, Seewald-Marquardt said, if a rental is out of stock, special orders can still be made. The books that are in stock for rental will be easily identifiable to purchasers.
“Everything that we have in stock that is considered a rentable book has a rental flag on it,” said Seewald-Marquardt. “We provide the quantity we need to based on sales history.”
He said all of the options will also be offered online: used rental, used book, new rental, new book.
“It’s all at your fingertips for purchase,” Seewald-Marquardt said.
Hines said there are two things students should take note of when using the new rental option. Textbooks will only be rented by semester, so even if the book is needed for the entire year, it will have to be rented a second time. If students do not return the book by five o’clock on the last day of finals, their ID will automatically be charged the replacement value of the book. Hines and Seewald-Marquardt said that multiple reminders will be used campus-wide to remind students of this deadline, such as in C-News and posted signs.
The return process of rental titles will be simple, Hines said. Students will bring their books to the cash register, where the barcode will be scanned, a receipt will print, and the return will be complete. She also said these books can be returned at anytime throughout the semester—they do not need to wait until the end if they are finished with it.
While specialty textbooks like custom and loose-leaf styles are not available for rental, Hines said the bookstore is excited about this new option. The specialty titles are more difficult to fit into this option since many come with additional materials, such as online passcodes.
While this downside exists, the bookstore did not go into this adjustment blind.
“We really wanted to make sure that if we offered a textbook rental program, because that’s what is trending in our industry, it was the right thing for the students and the college long-term,” Hines said.
Hines attributes the rental trend to not only saving money, but also the idea of becoming more sustainable. Renting a textbook will put it right back into someone else’s hands the following semester. The books are being recycled and reused through the system, year after year, decreasing the amount of books needing to be printed.
Olivia DeLeon, Concordia senior and bookstore student worker, said although she did not have the opportunity to use the rental system first semester since none of her books were options, she hopes to use it second semester for her non-major classes.
DeLeon also said she has seen a lot of interest in the new option already, especially in the new freshmen.
“One of the main books we offered to rent (first semester) was the Oral Communications book, and they did rent that a lot,” she said.
After a successful beta test, Hines and Seewald-Marquardt are excited for the expansion of the program.
“We looked at a lot of different options,” Seewald-Marquardt said. “We looked at outside sources, inside sources, and what we found was that this made the most sense for our college, as a bookstore that is owned by the college.”
Jordan Elton ’14 is majoring in multimedia journalism with a minor in Spanish. She is from Apple Valley, Minn. In addition to writing for the Concordian, Jordan is involved in Student Government Association, Habitat for Humanity and Campus Ministry Commission.