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Aug 15

Written by: kmurphy
Saturday, August 15, 2009 

It used to be that you had to budget $500 per semester for textbooks.  When the semester was over, you could try selling them back, but your $100 textbook would only be worth $5 three months later.  I know that most of mine ended up in a box in the attic as I didn’t have the heart to sell them back for next to nothing.

Well, life just got simplier for college students, who, according to The New York Times, can now rent textbooks from Cengage Learning, one of the largest textbook publishers. They will be offering several hundred titles for rent for the first time ever this fall. Students will save from 60% to 80% and will have immediate electronic access to the first chapter with the actual book shipped thereafter. Other rental companies like Chegg who has partnered with McGraw-Hill and Bookrenter offer massive discounts of up to 85%. 

Other deals are out there too. Students can search for used books on websites like CheapestTextbooks.com to find good bargins. At the University of Washington, 150 graduate students will receive a Kindle loaded with all their textbooks as part of a new nationwide pilot program. UW will be one of seven universities taking part in the program, and providing critical feedback to Amazon about their experience.

It is a win-win situation for all, as publishers can make a lot of money off of just one book, and students can reap the deep discounts and have a little pocket change leftover. The highlighter industry might suffer though.

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