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Amazon Introduces Kindle Textbook Rentals for Students

This week, Amazon announced a new service designed specifically for students. Students now have the option to rent Kindle versions of their Textbooks. Amazon advertises potential student savings up to 80% on textbook titles rented to the Kindle e-reader. Amazon textbook rentals will also allow students to customize their rental period from 30 to 360 days. Students will have the ability to save their textbook highlights and annotations in the Amazon cloud if they wish to re-rent or purchase the textbook after their rental term is complete.
In the 2010-2011 school year public university students spent an average of  $1,137 on textbooks according to CollegeBoard.com. With the school year starting in less than a month, Amazon is launching this service at the perfect time.Out of curiosity, I went searching for Kindle version textbooks available for rent and found, “Fundamentals of Finance Management” listed at $142.27 for a hard copy. Alternatively, the same title is available for rent starting at $40.03 (savings of about 71%).
The textbook industry has baffled me for quite some time. As if tuition wasn’t expensive enough, each school term students are forced to shell out tons of cash to obtain the required materials for their courses. Some students have dodged or reduced these expenses by sharing books with other students, renting hard copies from companies like Chegg.com, using library copies, or doing avoiding the textbook all together (I don’t recommend this one, but I know it’s been done).
Rentable Kindle textbooks might be a great money-saving alternative for some, however it isn’t the perfect solution for every student. Many students prefer to read from real books and find it challenging to absorb the information from an e-reader or a digital online copy. Plus, highlighting and annotating books with the Kindle isn’t as fun as it is with a real book!
What do you think? If you were a student would you rent digital textbooks for e-readers like the Kindle?


  • Peter Chee

    July 26, 2011

    Scary how much students spend on text books and then you sell them back to the bookstore only to get a tiny bit back. This seems like a great way to save money rather than buying text books. I remember the beginning of the quarter, it was like I can’t eat food — must save money for text books!

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