For most students, the ability to rent textbooks instead of buying them saves quite a bit of cash. But for bookstores, that doesn’t always translate into more profits.
Lynne Vaughan, UF Bookstores director, said it depends on how many times the rented book goes through circulation.
“We have to rent that book three or four times before we make what we would on a bought textbook,” she said.
In UF’s three bookstores, there are about 1,500 titles available for rent, she said.
In UF’s fiscal year, running April through March, UF rented out 28,000 textbooks.
Vaughan said more students tend to buy books than rent.
Erin Gray, a 19-year-old UF political science sophomore, said she doesn’t have a preference.
“The only thing I buy are books for my major,” she said.
Gray said she never sells back the books she buys, so renting is usually the option that saves her the most money.
Mike Lammers, store manager of the Florida Bookstore at 1614 W. University Ave., said he always encourages students to rent.
Last Fall, Lammers said, the Florida Bookstore helped students save more than a quarter of a million dollars by renting instead of buying.
“There’s quite an algorithm that goes into pricing a rental,” he said.
Most books lent out are priced below the cost the bookstore bought them for.
Matt Kuizon, a 21-year-old UF physiology and kinesiology senior, said he exclusively rents his textbooks.
He said he doesn’t buy because there is no guaranteed return, even if the plan is to sell it after.
“Renting is just cheaper,” he said.
[A version of this story ran on page 10 on 7/15/2014 under the headline "Renting books busts bookstores’ backs, benefits students"]
Freshman Truc Nguyen, an 18-year-old nutrition major, purchases books for her first semester from bookstore associate David Martinez, 25, Tuesday afternoon