Maggie Striebich

Students can opt to rent textbooks or purchase used copies to reduce expenses.

Despite its lack of participation from professors and students alike, the Miami University Bookstore textbook rental program is still in existence for students looking to cut costs as they buy expensive textbooks for spring semester.

Sarah Thacker, book manager at the Miami bookstore, said the book rental program began in fall 2008. Five textbooks are currently offered for rent costing between $60 and $78 depending on the price of the new book.

Although only five titles are available, Thacker said 99 percent of the inventory was rented.

“I feel that the rental program is big, but in order for it to expand we need the commitment from faculty members in order to add more titles,” Thacker said.

According to Thacker, the bookstore is looking to add more titles if faculty members can guarantee they will continue to use the same textbook for two years.

“It’s a great option for students and is has proven to be successful so far,” Thacker said. “We are happy to offer the rental program for future classes.”

First-year Brook Clifford said she did not previously know of the bookstore’s book rental program. As an out-of-state student, Clifford said the price of books really adds up when accompanied with out-of-state tuition.

“(The rental program) sounds like a good idea to me,” Clifford said. “It really puts a dent in my bank account.”

Clifford said she spent about $600 for books for the spring 2010 semester.

Although senior Britta Pestak had yet to buy her books for this semester, she knows it will be pricey.

“I think I will spend at least $300,” Pestak said.

Pestak said she was not aware of the rental program, but she thought it was a great idea.

Ronald Becker, a communication professor, agreed a book rental program could be very effective in the current financial situation. However, Becker said he could see the program being problematic, especially since professors must agree to use the same edition of the text for a particular time period.

“Professors are not in control of what the publisher comes out with,” Becker said.

The UPS store on South College Avenue, next to CVS, offers a similar book rental service.

Store Manager Michael Coley said this is the first semester of the rental program, but he sees it “catching on.”

Using the Web site, students can rent or buy textbooks and have them delivered right to the store, according to Coley.

A recent email from the Oxford UPS informed Miami students that renting could save students up to 75 percent off bookstore prices and compared renting textbooks to renting DVDs. UPS does not actually buy or sell the books, according to Coley.

“We’re like the middleman,” Coley said.