The university bookstore declined to participate in Barnes & Noble’s in-store textbook rental program which was implemented nation-wide last spring semester, a bookstore official said.
Roman Coronado, textbook manager at the campus bookstore, said the university chose not to participate in the rental program because it was brand new and not necessarily beneficial to students. However, he said e-textbooks and online textbook rental from barnesandnoble.com would still be an option.
“Most of the rental programs have taken place in the smaller community colleges, so right now there hasn’t been enough study in the bigger universities, such as us, of how it’s going to impact everything,” Coronado said.
The program began in January and first appeared on college campuses this fall. According to a Barnes & Noble press release, the company wanted to provide students a way to save money on textbooks by renting them instead of purchasing them.
Students would be able to return books for free at the end of the semester, using shipping labels provided by the program. According to the press release, the program would allow highlighting and note-taking inside the rented textbooks. To avoid late fees, students would receive e-mail reminders that would warn them of the books’ due dates.
Junior marketing major Monique St. Pierre said she was aware of the competitive market that textbook rental offered and that she would only want the university to implement the program if it was the best option for students financially.
“I’d want the in-store rental program if it would be cheaper,” she said. “It depends on how much the books are because TCU books are so expensive already. I think it’d be cheaper to go through Chegg or another online rental program rather than use Barnes & Noble.”
Karen DiScala, manager of Barnes & Noble corporate communications, said under the rental program, students would pay 42.5 percent of a textbook’s cost as long as students managed to stay on top of due dates and did not tear, burn or butcher the book, according to a Jan. 22 Skiff article.
Nick Rainone, digital sales lead at Barnes & Noble, said students can also save money with Barnes & Noble’s e-textbooks. E-textbooks are a digital version of a hardcopy textbook and can be downloaded to student computers from the Barnes & Noble website, he said.
Jeff Baines, manager at the university bookstore, said cards for e-textbooks with a code to download the book were available for purchase at the bookstore right next to the original and used copies of the textbook.
Rainone said with the introduction of iPhones, iPads and e-readers, publishers worked on formatting their e-textbooks to be compatible with the electronic gadgets. Formatting the books, however, took time.
“There are already e-textbooks available and there will be more as the publishers get used to the formatting,” he said.
According to Rainone some e-textbooks were already available on e-readers like the Barnes & Noble Nook. Barnes & Noble introduced a Nook application, called NOOKstudy, that would allow students to read the e-textbooks on their PC or Mac computers.
“You can tie six different devices to a single Barnes & Noble account and you can read [e-textbooks] anywhere as long as you have the account,” Rainone said.
English professor Alex Lemon said he supported e-books as long as they allowed students to take notes in them. He also said e-books were great for people with vision problems because the font could be enlarged it it was too hard to see.
“If students want to take advantage of this, that’s wonderful,” he said.