updated 06:34 pm EDT, Mon August 6, 2012
Students can rent physical books for a semester
Amazon is rolling out a program allowing students to rent textbooks through the electronic retail giant instead of purchasing them outright. The new textbook rental program, as detailed on Amazon's site, would supposedly allow students to save up to 70 percent off the normal cost of a textbook. The company already provides t-textbook rentals, but this new program would address the lack of a sizable Amazon presence in the physical textbook sector.
Students would use Amazon's site to identify needed texts with their ISBNs. Students already registered with Amazon Student would be eligible for free two-day shipping, while other students would have their books shipped at Amazon's standard rates and delivery times. Textbook rentals would span 130 days, with an automatic 15-day extension period if a book is not received on time. Following the 15-day extension, Amazon will charge the student for the purchase price of the book, minus any rental and extension fees.
Students are allowed to write and highlight in their rented books, but Amazon asks that they keep such additions to a minimum in order to prolong the usability of the text.
Even as Amazon, Apple, and others make strides in the digital book space, physical textbooks remain dominant in the university space. Bringing textbook rental into its own operations gives Amazon a prime spot in the perennial textbook market, and likely at a price attractive to students.