Let’s face it, anyone that’s ever had to buy a textbook knows that these things are grossly expensive, and should you dare to sell the book back to the bookstore at the end of the semester it is not surprising to receive an offer of $15 on a $185 textbook. Let me sum it up for you, for poor college students the textbook game is a crock of shit. While there are saving to be found on purchasing used textbooks, you’re not gonna score that used copy for anywhere near the $15 middle finger given to the previous student.
Well the times, they are a-changing’. Amazon will now allow students to “rent” textbooks on any device in which the Kindle software is available. Ah the world we live in… did you know there existed a time when our parents didn’t have microwaves? Oh the humanity!
What is interesting about Amazon’s approach is that Students will now have the option of renting textbooks anywhere from 30 to 360 days. Consumers also have the option to extend the rental period or buy the book outright. Depending on how long you rent you’re possibly looking at a savings of 50%-75%. Amazon also lets you keep annotations on these books, accessible from any computer, even after the rental period expires.
Oh, and let’s not forget about the fact that carrying 3-4 textbooks across campus is fucking heavy, and (quite frankly) not great for your skeletal health if you’re carrying them around in a backpack.
Downsides? Well, you don’t get to keep the book. Not a big deal if we’re talking about Gen Ed courses, but you’ll want to hang onto some of those books should you decide to carry on into a thesis or dissertation. At that point, however, you’d probably have some perspective about what is and is not important. Of course, you could always rent a book first and by the physical copy later. I say “physical copy” because digital reading seems more conducive to reading front to back, and not so much for jumping around between chapters or viewing a few sections simultaneously. I’d imagine, however, that digital navigation interfaces will improve over time, leaving it really to the learning style/preference of the user.