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The UC Irvine Bookstore began a textbook rental program fall quarter 2010. More than 400 students participated, with over 500 textbooks rented out to students last quarter.

The rental program incorporates a full partnership with Follet Higher Education Company and comes to UCI without cost. In addition, the program brings the UCI Bookstore 8 percent of the cost per textbook rented, saving students money while benefiting the university.

“Only used books are rented out and they are 35-40 percent off the used book price sold at the bookstore,” Coursebooks Manager Amy Bredeson said. Books are shipped to students for a fee, and students afterwards mail the books back free of shipping charge.  Alternatively finished books can also be dropped off at the bookstore.

In order to rent textbooks, students must click on the “Coursebook Rental Program” link on the UCI  Bookstore website and register for a free account.

“Last quarter between Sept. 1 and Dec. 10 we had a total of 408 transactions,” Bredeson said. “[There was] an average order cost of $63.60. The trend has been about two books a transaction. We have also had 7,257 visits to the website.”

Once signed in, students  return to the home page which reads “Save 75% on Your Textbooks!” and “college students save $500+/year renting textbooks!” Students may search for needed textbooks by ISBN number, title or author, and choices appear as soon as they begin typing. Students may choose their rental period and see the variety of prices for the length. When price is chosen, they click “Add to bag” and may check out after buying all needed books.

“I rented two textbooks, both for my psychology courses last quarter,” third-year cognitive psychology major Armine Analian said. “For my Clinical Child Psychology course the book was originally around $180 but I rented it for $35 and for my Adult Development course the book originally $148 but I rented it for $50.”

As with most online transactions, shipping and handling costs apply to the coursebook rentals. If students spend over $100 on a purchase, they are eligible for free shipping. Standard shipping rates apply for orders of less than $100. There is a 1-2 day processing time and then the shipping methods of standard, express and express plus.

“I saved a lot of money through the textbook rental system which was extremely good but sometimes I like to keep my textbooks for my major but this way I have to send the books back.” Analian continues. “But I think there is an option of buying it if you decide to keep it but at original price. You also don’t get any money back like you would if you sold your books back to the bookstore. You just have to weigh the pros and cons and decide what would be the best option for you. I probably would use this program again in the future. It is very convenient.”

The UCI Bookstore textbook rental program presents students with a convenient option to save money and time when obtaining expensive textbooks.

“It was an easy and simple way to order books and I only had to pay ¼ of the market price,” fourth-year anthropology and international studies major Amy Ulwelling said. “The books arrived about five days after I rented them and it’s better than buying because then I have three less books at the end of the quarter. I would rent again if they have the books I need.”

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