UM bookstore offers textbook rental service

Sophomores Alex Schrieks and Brandon Lay search for textbooks in the UM bookstore. Rent-A-Text is a program that started fall 2010 as a Student Government initiative. Adrianne D’Angelo//Assistant Photo Editor

During fall 2010, the campus bookstore introduced a textbook rental program which can help students reduce the costs of the college experience.

Rent-A-Text, a service offered by the Follett Higher Education Group, allows students to rent more than 2,200 required textbooks from the campus bookstore for an entire semester at a relatively low price.

“The prices between rentals and sales are drastically different,” said Pietro Bortoletto, former vice president of Student Government. “For example, a chemistry book that would cost $157 new and $127 used could be offered at $73 for rental.”

Aside from the average 50 percent in savings, students are allowed to keep the rented book until the end of finals and may choose to buy it or receive a refund if they drop the class.

One of the biggest perks of the program is the ability to mark the textbooks with moderate highlighting and underlining.

If textbooks are not returned or are returned damaged, students will be charged a flat fee that varies depending on how much was orginally spent on the book.

Though not every course’s book titles are offered, the bookstore is working on increasing the amount of books available for rent.

“We’re focusing on the bigger, general education classes first and then expanding the selection,” former SG President Christina Farmer said in 2010.

The service was one of the major initiatives taken on by the 2010-2011 Student Government executive board.

Its goal to make things easier for students placed the cost of textbooks on the forefront.

“When I was running on the UFirst ticket, I heard from many students about the issue of textbook affordability,” Farmer said. “We worked on it through the summer with the bookstore and are very excited that it’s now available.”

To rent textbooks, students should visit the bookstore’s website to register for a rental account as listed on the homepage, which makes it faster to rent the text at the bookstore.

“I think it’s an excellent program. Books are one of the many expensive parts of college life, yet there’s really no financial aid for them,” said Michael Kaplan, the speaker of the senate last year. “This is a better way for students to get books for a good price.”

For more information on Rent-A-Text, visit