Students, rejoice! Amazon has announced that the company will now be offering textbook rentals on Kindle devices and through the Kindle app on other platforms. According to Amazon, textbooks can be rented at up to an 80 percent savings when compared to purchasing textbooks at their new prices.
Amazon's program will allow students to rent books for a specified amount of time, usually between 60 and 360 days, at a prorated rate. This is huge news for students who have to bear both the physical and financial weight of buying several large, expensive textbooks every semester. The service will allow users to read the textbook on any Kindle enabled device. In addition, students will be able to synchronize annotations for viewing across all devices, even after the rental period has ended. The rental period can be extended by as little as one day. Students will also have the option to purchase the textbooks at any time.
The most popular online textbook rental service, Chegg, offers rentals by mail for individual semesters or for the entire year with options of renewal beyond that. It will be nice to see some competition in this space to help drive prices lower. However, Chegg will not be the hardest enemy Amazon will have to fight in this market. Widespread adoption of the rental system will rely on textbook publishers providing both a timely and broad selection of offerings. Many universities require the use of tjushe newest available edition of all textbooks, so Amazon will have to work hard to ensure the publishers are keeping their e-book wares up to date and covering a broad range of subjects. In addition, students will have to be convinced of the service's usefulness. If students decide they need something other than what devices are available to them to properly use the material, they may give up quickly on electronic rentals. However if a student were to pair electronic rentals with the $114 Kindle With Special Offers deal, he or she could have a very convincing argument to get mom and dad to cough up the dough for a Kindle.