Textbook rental program in a bind
January 28, 2009 8:40 PM
A year-long effort to provide textbook rentals to SF State students is on hold until next fall due to planning issues.
"The idea was to set aside a certain number of copies of textbooks specifically for rental so students wouldn't have to come back at the end of the semester and get only half back for their books," said Rob Strong, the general manager of the SF State Bookstore.
"We had hoped to start it last fall and we weren't able to," Strong said.
"The thing is, after we started looking into it more seriously we really have to wait for the fall cycle. The reason is that new editions always come out in the spring and summer and for the rental program to be viable we have to get the faculty to use that book for two, preferably three years so we can rent it multiple times to students."
Not all of the store's more than 6000 titles are slated to be offered through the rental program. The rentals will be for the most in-demand classes, primarily lower division courses that are requirements for all students, Strong said.
The program will also not offer books bundled with other media due to the need to reuse the books. Book publishers bundle to encourage students to purchase new titles, Strong said.
While the rental program will charge students around $35 to $40, it is essentially as cost effective for students as the returns system, but too few students actually sell their books back, said Wendy Johnson, a manager at the store.
"I wish more students came to the buy-back," Johnson added.
"The rent program will be for only a handful of titles. Overall, if students are concerned about costs, buy back is the way to go."
This opinion is shared by other employees. "I think [the rent program] is great," said James Ferrell, an employee of the Bookstore and international relations major.
"Students are stressed out --grumpy-- no one wants to pay more money. People are struggling to get into classes, [dealing with] raised fees, then have to shell out $300 to $400 on books; it's the last straw. Not many students sell books back. I might sell 80 [books] and they bring back five," Ferrell said.
Some students have found help with textbook costs through the Project Connect book loan program. Project Connect received 400 applications and gave out 350 books last semester, said program coordinator Mario Flores. This semester they expect 500 applications and to accommodate 400 of those.
The project receives $2,000 annually from the Book Store, $800 from ASI and they raise $2,000 to $2,500 through fundraising.
Until such a program is available on a wider scale, students like freshman Steven Cai will keep paying.
"I'll try to sell back the ones that I can," said Cai, who expects to spend about $500 on books this semester.
POST A COMMENT
|BACK TO TOP|| |
Copyright © 2008 [X]press | Journalism Department - San Francisco State University