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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Bookstore launches book rental program

Starting this fall, the GW Bookstore will offer students the option of renting textbooks instead of purchasing them, potentially easing the cost of purchasing course materials, a Follett company official said in June.

More than 600 bookstores across the nation will participate in Rent-A-Text, a new program put forward by the Follett Higher Education Group allowing students to rent textbooks for a semester, Follett representative Brian Rehme said. Follett Higher Education Group manages the GW Bookstore.

Rehme said students at seven test schools saved 50 percent or more on the cost of new books through the Rent-A-Text program last fall, amounting to $2 million in savings.

In the past, some students have turned to other sellers like to rent textbooks or have avoided the bookstore altogether because of what they feel are high prices. Rent-A-Text will let students highlight and write in the course materials they use, and also give the option of purchasing the textbook at the end of the semester, giving students the same benefits as if they purchased the book.

Elio DiStaola, director of Follett’s public and campus relations, said the new rental program is a response to the recent spotlight on higher education’s increasing costs.

“[Rent-A-Text] is a reaction to the pressure on wallets, and rental today really presents the lowest upfront cost to any student,” DiStaola said. “We’re renting books for less than what it costs us.”

Follett will need to rent out books multiple times in order to recoup costs of purchasing from publishers, DiStaola said. Students are guaranteed to save 50 percent or more of the publisher’s listed price for a book. For some textbooks, the bookstore’s 50 percent off may not beat market prices for textbook rentals.

DiStaola also said he expects more students to look toward the campus bookstore for class materials as a result of the rental option being offered.

“By making books more affordable, you make them more accessible. What this is really about is getting more materials in the hands of students.”

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