I am sure that we are all pretty used to seeing the little signs that are posted next to the road advertising everything from apartment rentals to candidates seeking political office. In fact, they have become "old hat", and frankly I don't pay much attention to them anymore, in most cases.
However, several of those signs caught my eye over the last few days as I was jogging around Georgia Southern's campus. The signs were advertising college textbooks for "rent."
Talk to any university or college student and you will hear immediately about the relatively high price of textbooks. Parents will quickly lament the$500 or more in textbook costs that come with a full load each semester.
This is an intriguing twist in the battle to offset the increasing costs of a post secondary education. A spokesman for Gray's College Bookstore on Chandler Road said this is the first semester that local textbook retailers have "rented" books to students citing that it has become a huge trend among college booksellers around the country. According to the spokesman, renting a book is about 50 percent of the cost of a new book. Used books run about 70 percent of the cost of a new book.
The savings can be significant, but strings are attached. Rented books must come back in the same condition in which they were issued which means in some cases, no additional highlighting and wear. But, when every penny counts, it is a sacrifice that many students are willing to make.
The University Store on GSU's campus is also renting books to students for the first time. According to their website, they have partnered with a national wholesaler to offer select titles with hopes of expanding the program next semester.
As with most "brick and mortar" retail operations, it is becoming increasingly difficult to compete in a cyber world where most products are just a click away, including textbook rental. I am glad to see that our local textbook sellers are trying to keep those purchases right here by being flexible. In this case, it would seem that everybody benefits.
So, until next Tuesday, I bid you au revoir.
Got a scoop for Jan? Call her at (912) 489-9463 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org