Students may be able to save some cash in coming semesters with textbook rental programs offering an alternative to buying books.
The Florida Book Store revised its textbook rental program this semester after experimenting with similar programs in previous years.
Florida Book Store textbook department manager Mike Bibbee said the store rents out about 10,000 books, or 25 percent of its titles.
The store sends an e-mail reminder when the books are due and charges the full price of the books if they are not returned, he said.
Bibbee said the Florida Book Store rents the books out to students until the last day of finals week.
He also said the program has some drawbacks.
Students cannot sell back the rented books and risk paying penalty fees, Bibbee said.
Junior Hayley Snedeker rented a textbook for the first time from the Florida Book Store this semester. She rented a $96 textbook for $48.
“I like that it was a lot cheaper, but I’m kind of sad that I won’t be able to sell it back and get money back at the end of the semester,” Snedeker said.
Other local bookstores are also considering the implementation of textbook rental programs.
Elio DiStaola, the director of campus relations for Follett Higher Education Group, said UF Bookstores may have a rental program in fall 2010.
Follett tested a textbook rental program in seven universities across the country last semester, including Florida State University and the University of North Florida, DiStaola said.
During that semester, the program allowed students in those seven schools to save close to $2 million, he said.
“It works great for students who want up-front savings,” DiStaola said.
Lynne Vaughan, director of UF Bookstores, said she thinks a rental program could be successful because it gives students another option besides buying new or used books.
Vaughan said students will save money as long as they remember to return the books.
Doby Gray, owner of Gator Textbooks located on 3501 SW 2nd Ave., said he hopes his store will have a rental program by this summer.