Scrolling Headlines:

Nick Mariano, Zach Oliveri transferring from UMass men’s lacrosse program -

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Four months after banning Iranian students from certain graduate programs, UMass announces new measures to ensure compliance with U.S. law -

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Justin King sentenced to eight to 12 years in prison -

Monday, June 29, 2015

Two future UMass hockey players selected in 2015 NHL Draft -

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Supreme Court ruling clears way for same-sex marriage nationwide -

Friday, June 26, 2015

Former UMass center Cady Lalanne taken 55th overall by Spurs in 2015 NBA Draft -

Friday, June 26, 2015

Second of four men found guilty on three counts of aggravated rape in 2012 UMass gang rape case -

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Boston bomber speaks out for first time: ‘I am sorry for the lives I have taken’ -

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

King claims sex with woman was consensual during alleged 2012 gang rape -

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Wrongful death suit filed in death of UMass student -

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Ryan Bamford uses online Q&A session to discuss UMass football conference search, renovation plans, cost of attendance -

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Opening statements delivered, first witnesses called in second trial for alleged 2012 gang rape at UMass -

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

UMass Board of Trustees approves rise in tuition, student fees -

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Former Minutewoman Quianna Diaz-Patterson named to Puerto Rican national softball team -

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

UMass rowing’s Jim Dietz inducted into CRCA Hall of Fame -

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Jury selection begins Monday in second gang rape trial -

Monday, June 15, 2015

Students turn attention to state legislators as decision on UMass budget looms -

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Alumna and next director of Brooklyn Museum Anne Pasternak ‘created her own path’ -

Thursday, June 11, 2015

UMass graduate crowned head of 600-year-old Indian kingdom -

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Committee recommends UMass increase tuition, student fees for in-state undergraduates -

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A new alternative to buying: Textbook Annex offers rental program

Posted to the entrance and taped to walls and shelves throughout the University Textbook Annex are red and white For Rent signs. Is the building up for lease? No, but textbooks are.

For the first time, the University bookstore is offering students the option of renting textbooks.

“Textbook prices are so high, students are always trying to find a good deal, and we’re offering it,” said University of Massachusetts Bookstore Director Ken Kahler. “We’re hoping to keep students buying books on campus and offer one-stop shopping.”

Through Rent-A-Text, a new program sponsored by the Follett Higher Education Group, the company that runs the university bookstore, students will be able to rent textbooks for a semester.

Last Fall, Follett tested the rental program at seven universities and found students saved, on average, 50 percent or more compared to the cost of new books. They have expanded the program to more than 600 university bookstores this semester.

The Rent-A-Text program offers over 650 university textbooks this semester, or about 35 percent of all books on students’ syllabi, Kahler said. He expects the program to offer more titles for rent each semester.

With the rented texts, students are allowed to highlight and write in the books, just as if they bought them.

“We expect the normal wear and tear in books. Obviously students can’t return books with water damage or a torn-off cover, but writing in the books and highlighting is perfectly fine,” said Kahler.

As of late August, Kahler said approximately 300 students had signed up for the textbook rental program, and he expects many more as the school year continues.

Hoping to cut costs, Erwin Apaza, a nutrition major, signed up for the rental program on the University website.

“I need textbooks for class, and if I can rent them and save a few bucks, why wouldn’t I?” he said.

Of his textbooks, the bookstore offered a rental for one book, for a physics class. Priced new at $40, Apaza saved $24 renting.

This program is one change among many to bookstores across the country. The federal Higher Education Opportunity Act, which took effect July 1, now requires universities to provide lists of course material for students during registration.

“With advance notice, students can plan ahead for the full cost of their next term, and they have time to shop around for the best deals on their books,” said Nicole Allen, a textbook advocate for the Student Public Interest Research Groups, in a press release regarding the legislation. According to Allen, the average student spends $900 per year on textbooks, and prices are on the rise.

“The next step is to make sure textbooks are affordable in the first place,” wrote Allen.

As an alternative to the University store, some students have used other sellers, such as Chegg.com to rent textbooks, or Amazon.com to buy used books, and save on costs. Kahler hopes the rental program will inspire more students to buy from the Textbook Annex.

“I’d like to see more students buying from the bookstore. It’s local, it’s convenient and hopefully more affordable.”

Graduate student Sharon Horenstein said she spends hundreds of dollars on books each semester at the Textbook Annex because she feels it’s risky to buy online.

“I could probably save some money if I were to buy books on Amazon, but I’ve heard so many stories from friends getting their books weeks into the semester or never getting them at all, and I don’t want to risk it,” said Horenstein.

Although she hadn’t looked into the new rental program, she said she’d be willing to try it.

Michelle Williams can be reached at mnwillia@student.umass.edu. 

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