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What if you could rent college textbooks? St. Cloud State will try it this summer

Whether it’s the green thing to do or a way to save money, St. Cloud State University this summer will experiment with a “Rent-A-Text” program, according to a story in the St. Cloud Times.

Follett Higher Education Group, which is offering the option in St. Cloud and other campuses around the nation, claims that renting “can save students as much as 50 percent on what they pay for books,” according to the Times.

Not every textbook will be available for rental, however. The newspaper says that textbooks used “consistently for courses that have high numbers of students” will be available.

Husky Bookstore manager Ted Mears says the average cost of textbooks per semester was about $600 about 18 months ago.

Diana Burlison, assistant vice president for administrative affairs, is quoted, too: "We can get a sense of how it's going to work and how it's going to feel for the students, and then we'll do a full-blown implementation hopefully in the fall."

And there might be an environmental advantage, she told the St. Cloud Times. "Rental will encourage returning them so that they can be recycled. The end story to that is we'll save some trees."

Comments on the story are somewhat skeptical of the latest textbook craze. From SpyingEyes: “If the students are going to have the option of renting books, even at 50% savings, are they going to get a portion of the rental cost back if the book is returned in good condition? College is expensive enough without the bookstore lining its pockets.”

What do you think?

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Comments (3)

My school, UW-River Falls, rented textbooks. It was the greatest thing and I don't know why more schools don't do it!

The University of Minnesota has also been renting textbooks for some time in many, but not all classes.

I couldn’t stand how much I had to pay for books on top of tuition. To Buy College Textbooks at a fair price, I went to and got the prices that every student deserves. Not only did I get a fair price, but I got the most up-to- date edition for all of my classes.