Textbook Publisher to Rent to College Students

Published in the New York Times yesterday:

In the rapidly evolving college textbook market, one of the nation’s largest textbook publishers, Cengage Learning, announced Thursday that it would start renting books to students this year, at 40 percent to 70 percent of the sale price.

Then, if you read a little further down the article you come across this:

Besides giving students a new option, rentals give both publishers and textbook authors a way to continue earning money from their books after the first sale, something they do not get from the sale of used textbooks.

Bingo, there’s the rationale behind why these book publishers are doing this: they’re hoping for a renewable revenue stream.

No, it doesn’t seem as though the publishers have suddenly found a soul and decided to stop gouging students on books, it’s just that they’re going to gouge them in a slightly different way and under the guise of providing a more economical option to the student.