Appalachian State Textbook Rental Program Worth Emulating


College students are suffering from a bad case of sticker shock especially if they’ve recently shopped for new textbooks through their university bookstore. Prices for some titles easily top $100, with annual costs in excess of $1000 for some students. Indeed, U.S. PIRG has noted that students pay an average of $900 a year on textbooks, which amounts to as much as twenty percent of the cost of tuition at some universities.

NACS Flap has been urging our readers to explore their textbook rental options in a bid to save money. We’re continuing to do this despite the opposition of the National Association of College Stores (NACS) whose media campaign this summer has sought to undermine the entire textbook rental industry. Their “four textbook purchasing myths” campaign offered nothing new other than a concerted effort against companies such as, and who help students save hundreds of dollars. Shame on the NACS for attempting to scare students to purchase outrageously overpriced textbooks!

I recently learned that Appalachian State University (ASU) in Boone, North Carolina offers a textbook rental program worth exploring. Available to ASU students only, the program was first established in 1938, when ASU operated as a teacher’s college. Back then, the cost to students was just $5 per quarter and for freshmen students only. Since then, the program has been expanded to reach all undergraduate students and is operated through the college bookstore.

Big Textbook Rental Savings

ASU says that having a textbook rental program in place has made a difference for families who were considering other schools. ASU claims that the over the four years that students are in attendance, the program saves students hundreds of dollars.

The current version of the ASU book rental program covers one book per class per semester. Students taking summer classes or those classes requiring more than one textbook, must be pay for those books – no rental option is offered. Still, the vast majority of students can take their classes at ASU without paying big bucks for a new textbook.

What ASU Achieves

ASU students are given a date each semester when books can be picked up at the university bookstore and another date when they must be returned by, which is several days after the semester has ended. Failure to return a rented book means that the student will be charged accordingly.

Certainly, not every college can establish an in-house rental program along the lines of ASU. Ideally, a program of this kind would rent books to all students with no restriction on the number of books rented per class, per semester. Of course, ASU students can do as other students across the country have been doing over the past few years – rent their textbooks from private companies who offer deals that NACS stores cannot possibly match.

See Also — Off to College: Avoid the College Bookstore!

Adv. — Do you need financial aid for this semester? Have you exhausted all other options? If you answered yes to both questions, then visit your Sallie Mae lender for more information or call them directly at 866-530-9523.


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Categories: Personal Advice