Rental Textbook business models

  • 1.  Rental Textbook business models

    Posted 08-15-2019 12:36
    Can anyone recommend documented best practice models to roll-out low cost rental textbooks to the entire student body? Interested in accumulating data points re: wins, challenges, inhouse v outsourced, pitfalls, estimated student costs, and other areas I may not have considered. 
    Are consortium solutions available to leverage buying power to reduce cost?
    Any and all comments are welcome. Thanks

    Raymond L. Johnson
    Director of Procurement, Contracts & Auxiliary services
    Guilford College
    5800 West Friendly Avenue
    Greensboro, NC 27410
    Phone(336) 316-2040


  • 2.  RE: Rental Textbook business models

    Posted 08-16-2019 11:08
    We just launched ours in Summer 2019. I am sure a few of us could talk to you on the phone about our process sometime after the school year kicks off. A couple things:
    • Challenges: access codes
    • Wins: strong student support
    • Pitfalls: publishers talking to faculty

    We are in-house and explored outsourcing without much success. We have a statewide consortium, but we haven't had a lot of success with using that to leverage discounts. I think we'd explore other consortium options, if available.

    Sylvia Ramirez
    Madison Area Technical College
    Associate Vice President, Budget & Management
    Madison, WI

  • 3.  RE: Rental Textbook business models

    Posted 08-16-2019 16:03
    ​Hi Raymond!

    It appears that you have Follett running your bookstore; I worked for them for a decade, and they usually have a robust selection of rentals available for students.  With regard to your question, did you mean outside of Guildford College's contract with them?

    I work for an institutionally owned and operated store now, and our rentals are based on guarantees from wholesalers on the backend, the amount of buyback available from the previous semester, how much of a future commitment we have to use any particular title and the reusability of the item (i.e. access codes that are one time use, etc.,..) and other factors.

    I think some challenges are in ensuring that you have the ability to collect for non-return rentals (charging student accounts or having credit card collateral), making sure that you're renting the right titles at the right prices and those things are tough if you don't have somebody in the store that has significant experience in that area.  I have a 20+ year textbook manager that is phenomenal, and in all honesty my Follett background has helped me a great deal.  If you don't have significant in-house knowledge at your bookstore it is harder.

    The best thing we have been able to do to leverage greater discounts is implementing an inclusive access program that we have a huge amount of participation in.  It has grown from one class into 10,000+ students.  If you'd like any further information, just let us know.  We'd be happy to chat more in detail.  Have a great day.

    Ann-Marie Floresca
    Western Kentucky University
    Director, The WKU Store
    Bowling Green KY
    United States

  • 4.  RE: Rental Textbook business models

    Posted 08-19-2019 14:01
    ​We ran a "hybrid" bookstore model offering books in the physical store and also ran an online store with Akademos. We captured a commission from Akademos and only allowed returns in the bookstore with proof of course drop. Akademos handled the details with rental/returns, we improved student satisfaction, lowered cost for students and were able to focus on the store operations.

    Jaye Lynn Bergers
    Ferris State University
    Director, Auxiliary Business Operations
    Big Rapids MI
    United States