Beginning next fall, students may have another option when seeking out their course textbooks.
The Bradley Bookstore, run by Barnes and Noble, is considering renting out 20 to 30 percent of their book supply next year, said bookstore manager Paul Kroenke.
The books would be rented out at 45 percent of the new book price, and students would be allowed to highlight and take notes in it like they can with purchased books.
“Over the last semester, Barnes and Noble piloted a rental program in 25 stores that we run,” Kroenke said. “We went back to most of the other stores, like Bradley, and asked if they would do it. In principle so far, Bradley agreed. We’re trying to provide students with another service, but they will still be able to buy new or used books.”
Kroenke said the books that are the likeliest candidates are the ones that will be used again and the ones that are nationally recognized titles.
“There is a risk because they’re being rented at a price that is below our cost,” he said. “We won’t break even until they’ve been rented at least twice, but we know the students really want this option, so it’s a risk we’re willing to take.”
Student Senate Treasurer Andrew Kerr said despite the bookstore’s consideration on book rentals, he still hopes to launch a student-run book rental service.
“Without other competition, Barnes and Noble has nothing to check their prices,” Kerr said. “I think a student-run bookstore would show the administration that the prices can be lower than what they are. If they want to show that the free market will regulate prices, I think this will show it.”
Kerr said he thinks the bookstore charges prices higher than market value.
“I’m pretty sure the used prices are inflated,” he said. “The student-run bookstore would be cheap to start because we would first focus on gen-ed classes. Of course, we don’t know if Barnes and Noble will agree with us, but this would cut a pretty big percentage off of what students are paying now.”
Former Student Campus Affairs Chairman senior Jimmy Lombard said he hosted a bookstore committee meeting during first semester where students’ concerns were addressed.
“One of the big things we addressed was renting books,” Lombard said. “Paul [Kroenke] wasn’t sure what he could do, but he discussed it with Dr. Galsky. It still has to go through Bradley contracts I believe, but this could be really good for the students.”
Lombard said the program could be very beneficial for the bookstore down the road.
“I think this system will really help them keep business in the bookstore,” he said.
Kroenke said the book-rental service would be available in-store or online, and the books would have to be returned within 10 days after final exams end.