Bookstore offers rental option

Photo by: Megan DeWitt

Aaron Gotter, Head Photographer

Students saved money this semester by renting books through Francis Marion’s new book rental program hosted by an online network of bookstores called Efollett.

“The cost of text books is exploding, as we all know,” Administrative Manager Howard Lundy said. “So Efollett came up with the concept of the book rental. They tested it and it went over extremely well. The students and faculty of our peer institutions liked it.”

When this program was brought to FMU’s administration they agreed that it sounded like a plan that could help students cope with the cost of books.

“That’s how the book rental program came to be available for this semester,” Lundy said.

The book rental program works by letting students save 50 percent or more on the textbooks that they need for classes. At the end of the semester the books must be returned, or Efollett will charge a lost book fee.

“I figured that rather than paying 100 percent and only getting back 20 percent in terms of your money,” senior Brad Johansson said. “I figured just paying 50 percent for the same book was a better deal. I will definitely rent my books in the future.”

In Lundy’s opinion, the best thing about the book rental program is that it allows students to use their books as they normally would while allowing them to rent them at a significantly reduced price.

“In the old scenario where you by your book and return it at the end of the semester, you don’t know how much you are going to get back until we know if the book is going to be used again in the future semester,” Lundy said. “With this program you know going in the entire life cycle cost of your book.”

Some students this semester expressed disinterest in the program because they were required to use their credit card as a back up payment source in case the books were lost.

“People need to be aware that giving out their credit card number is something that people need to be cautious about,” Lundy said. “However, I think that Efollett’s internal control system pretty much assures you that you are very safe in providing them with your credit card number.”

Efollett is in the process of analyzing how they should expand their available selection of books. According to Lundy, that process will not be completed for about three to four years.

“Efollett is working to try and meet the unique needs of each campus as well as the negotiations for the 900 stores they represent,” Lundy said. “They are looking at where it makes sense to rent out books. For instance most people in their majors will end up keeping their books. This is going to be an evolutionary thing; you are learning about it, the faculty is learning about it and Efollett is learning about it.”

When renting used books, Lundy recommends looking through the book for any imperfections. If an imperfection is found, the student should make sure that the book store puts the flaw in their annotation so that any renters will be protected when they return the book.

According to Lundy, the book rental program has taken off fairly quickly. As of last week the Patriot Bookstore has rented out 1,900 books.