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RCC gives students options to rent texts

Starting winter term, students at Rogue Community College will be able to rent textbooks and avoid exorbitant sticker prices for purchasing new books.

The new plan, viewable at www.roguecc.edu/bookstore, invites students to rent books for the normal 90-day term or other periods.

RCC bookstore director Pat Gunter said they should make sure the rental fee is less than buying the new book and selling it back to the store for half-price.

An online news release at the RCC site notes rental of a biology text is $45 for 90 days. The same book can be bought new for $191 and then sold back for $95.50, so renting would offer a savings of $50.50.

A literature text sells for $103 ($51.50 on resale) and rents for $4 a term, for a savings of $47.50.

A history text sells new for $66 ($33 on resale) and rents for $16 a term, for a savings of $17.

Students order the books online and they are delivered free from Book Renter in Illinois. Students return them to the bookstore when done and they are sent back to the company at no charge to students.

"It saves students a lot of money, depending on the book," said Gunter, noting that renting may not be a good idea if the book is used for a whole year.

"If a book is $150 new and you use it over three terms and it rents for $60 a term, renting it will cost more."

Southern Oregon University began the renting system last spring term and book store director Tannia Shewman says, "It's been a good idea for many, very popular. We've had a tremendous response."

SOU uses the online third-party service and also rents books on-site, from its own stock. Almost 900 books were rented from the store in fall term, she notes, and about 80 percent of texts are available for renting.

Some books are valued references for a student's later career and, said Gunter, those would be best purchased. The costs of rented books is not covered by financial aid, she said.

Rental books can be located and priced at the link from the RCC page or by going to www.rentbooks.com and entering the ISBN number, author, title or keyword. Gunter says the service is used by many colleges and so the availability of texts is unknown.

John Darling is a freelance writer living in Ashland. E-mail him at jdarling@jeffnet.org.