Textbook rental program, SwoopThat.com offer lower prices for WCC students

Textbook rental program, SwoopThat.com offer lower prices for WCC students

Ben Solis

Managing Editor

Louis Tounsel, WCC student and bookstore staff member

Robert Conradi The Washtenaw Voice

Louis Tounsel, 20, of Ann Arbor, a graphic design major, wears a shirt announcing the new textbook rental option at the Barnes & Noble bookstore on campus.

For many students, price hunting for cheaper textbooks can be a time-consuming headache. Fortunately, students can take advantage of new buying options on and off campus.

Starting this Fall, students can rent nearly 250 different titles for about half the listed retail price, even on newly printed texts at the Washtenaw Community College Barnes and Noble retailer, according to the bookseller.

The company launched to the rental program last Fall and included nearly 300 schools. The program offers students up to 50 percent savings or more off of the printed price, according to Cindy Marshall, WCC’s bookstore manager.

“We have always been focused on giving our students as many low cost options as possible,” Marshall said in the press release. “We already offer a large supply of used books and eTextbooks. Now with rentals, students can get all the options they want right here.”

Furthermore, students will be able to return their rented books even if “moderate highlighting and note taking” has occurred—something that would have been deemed as damage in a buy-back situation with used books.

Yet even with guaranteed cost-savings, outside price aggregators, like SwoopThat.com can help students find the best price for books from a wide variety of retailers for much larger savings than an on-campus bookseller, according to Jonathon Simkin, chief executive officer and co-founder of SwoopThat. Students can go online, type in their college and see the prices of every online merchant that carries their course’s textbook, Simkin explained.

SwoopThat can offer students up to 75 percent savings on average. The aggregator cannot, however, compare the prices of on-campus locations, Simkin explained. “I wish we could offer that information to students, but the potential for a lawsuit from a school is too high,” Simkin said, adding that often leaves students with a tough decision on where to buy books.

Even with the extra legwork needed to see which offer is the best, both options promise to offer better deals for cash-poor students.

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