Monday, July 6, 2009

Rental market for textbooks

Here's a story about Chegg.com, which rents textbooks: We Rent Movies, So Why Not Textbooks?

"Yet the Craigslist model didn’t work. When classes ended in the spring, sellers couldn’t find many buyers online and sold their used books to the college store, often for pennies on the dollar. By the time students migrated back to campus in the fall, willing online sellers were few and far between. "
...
"With demand for good deals on textbooks running high, Chegg’s success comes in large part from being able to address those inefficiencies. While Chegg primarily rents books, it is also essentially acting as a kind of “market maker,” gathering books from sellers at the end of a semester and renting — or sometimes selling — them to other students at the start of a new one. "

See also http://www.bookrenter.com/, http://www.bookswim.com/, http://www.campusbookrentals.com/...

5 comments:

Another David said...

From a renter's point of view, though, renting textbooks to college students is pretty risky business. College students generally have pretty bad credit and are likely to forget or "forget" to return their books. How many books do college libraries lose each year?

The only way to protect against this would be to collect credit card information at the start of the rental, which is something students are not inclined to do. Notice how most students download movies rather than rent them.

michael webster said...

The reason text publishers want to rent textbooks is to control the aftermarket - pumping out more expensive revisions produces waning returns.

This is where something like the Kindle could work perfectly - rent the book software, or by a subscription to the continuous updates.

mok said...

Here's another interesting book rental website that operates on a Netflix model.

They rent all kinds of books, including textbooks.

http://www.bookswim.com/howitworks.html

maxliving said...

With so many sites selling textbooks at far lower prices than campus bookstores (many of them aggregate various online sellers so that it's easy to compare prices), it seems that the main reasons people still buy books from campus bookstores (or physical bookstores in general) is convenience (if you need it soon) or ignorance.

Anonymous said...

UnibookRental.com have brought the Chegg model to the UK- I used the service for two books and it was great!