More college bookstores offer book rentals

Students heading to college can expect to spend about $662 a year on textbooks and other course materials, according to The National Association of College Stores.

But more and more college bookstores are offering alternatives through textbook rental programs, the trade group said.

The number of association member stores offering rentals has jumped to nearly 3,000 from just 300 in fall 2009, said Charles Schmidt, a spokesman for the group.

In Maryland, student bookstores at Towson University and Salisbury University offer rentals, the trade group said.

 "Such print-version rental programs can save a student between 45 percent to 66 percent off the price of a new print textbook, and is often less expensive than digital formats," Schmidt said in a statement.

Textbook rentals from college stores saved students about $450 million during the 2012-13 school year, the association said.

Schmidt said the stores offer other options as well. All sell used books, while some offer free shipping and guaranteed buybacks.

More than three quarters of students prefer print versions of their textbooks to digital, the trade group said.


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