Retail giant Amazon.com launched a textbook rental program that will allow college students to save up to 70% on book costs. Amazon’s decision to offer textbook rental removes one of the last advantages that the brick-and-mortar college bookstore, more often than not managed by Barnes & Noble, had.
The program allows students to rent print and digital copies of the book for 130 days for up to 70% off the purchase price of a new copy of the book. For an additional fee, Amazon will also offer a 15-day extension at the end of the rental period. If a student doesn’t return a book at the end of the rental period extension fees are automatically assessed, and if the book remains unreturned after the extension period the student is charged the full purchase—or buyout—price.
Renting a textbook from Amazon also comes with rules; the company’s website says that students will only be able to write in the print copies a “minimal amount” and books with excessive writing or highlighting will result in the student being charged full price—minus the already paid rental fees—and the book being shipped back to the student. Additionally, students will not be able to return books that have water damage, broken binding, torn or taped covers, fire damage, or strong odor. The strong odor includes the smell of smoke.
All rental orders will be available for reduced shipping for orders over $25 and for Amazon Prime members will be able to receive free two-day shipping on rented textbooks. At the end of the rental period Amazon will provide students with a prepaid, printable label for return shipping.
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