Amazon To Annoy Even More Book Stores With Textbook Rental Plan

Now Amazon just seems to be toying with the retail book stores of America. The online behemoth has long been hated by many bricks-and-mortar booksellers for the hugely discounted prices it charges on books and other items traditionally sold in book stores. And then there’s Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader which some stores blame for dropping sales. Now Amazon is getting into one business still dominated by college book stores: textbook rentals.

For example, this accounting textbook retails for $195, but can be rented for a semester (130 days) for around $54.

It’s an inversion of the standard textbook buying procedure many of us experienced in college. Back in my day, you’d pray you could find a used book at the store, then hope you could get a fraction of that cost back when you returned it at the end of the semester.

With the Amazon model, you never pay that full price. The website’s FAQ says your rental may be a used book, but what do you expect for only a fraction of the bloated retail price?

Users can track books’ due dates on Amazon and will receive alerts when the time is drawing nigh for the books to be returned. A one-time 15-day extension can be granted for that time when your History of Landscape Architecture professor allows you to re-write your paper on something something or other (it’s been a while since I took the class and it obviously didn’t sink in).