Textbook rentals popular this semester at University Book Store

Michael Craighton

The University Book Store is a busy place at this time of the semester. This semester the store is no exception, but with one new added element — textbook rental returns.

UBS made the decision to add a rental option to its textbook supplies earlier this year. Carl Arbuckle, textbook department supervisor at the University Book Store, said the bookstore made 140 different textbook titles available this semester — constituting about 11,000 books.

“We had about 80 percent of our available books rented this fall,” Arbuckle said.

He also said, however, a single semester is not really enough time to gauge the performance of the program, and that it will not be until next fall that any major changes are made.

“There are a few possible changes in the works, both for spring semester and certainly for next fall,” Arbuckle said. “Most of the changes that will be taking place will be in the area of the books themselves. A few of the titles may change, but it will be mainly the quantity.”

Arbuckle also said the bookstore will primarily just “tweak the numbers.”

The most popular rental titles were books from core classes, or those classes not specifically connected to a major, Arbuckle said. Books tied to a major did not rent as well. In the future, the bookstore may seek to have more core class titles available for rent.

The textbook rental process was well-received by students who used it this semester.

“It was really easy,” said Ashley Bouska, freshman in animal science. “I liked it better than buying.”

She said she plans to keep renting her textbooks in the future.

The process of renting a textbook is set up to be very simple and customer-friendly, Arbuckle said. All a student must do is find the book he or she is looking for, and it if has a rental sticker on the book, then it is available for rent.

The student then takes the book to the checkout, where both the book and the student’s ID are scanned. The book is then tied to the student’s ID, meaning that at the end of the semester, the student must simply return the book and have it scanned again, along with the ID, and it will be “untied” from the student’s ID and available for rent again.

Eric Pecinovsky, sophomore in animal ecology, also said the process was easy: “I just walked in, they scanned it and I signed.”

Arbuckle wanted to emphasize the fact that the books rentals do have a hard and fast return date. All rented textbooks must be returned by close of business, or 5 p.m. Friday, Arbuckle said, or students will be required to pay the replacement cost of the book.