Web site provides textbook rentals

There may soon be a change in the traditional way students acquire textbooks at Florida A&M University and on other university campuses

Chegg.com, a website that rents textbooks to college students, offers new and used textbooks through alternative methods. 

“I’d rather buy online because the bookstore is just too expensive,” said April Parkins, 18, a first-year general studies student from Jamaica.

Some classes require more than one textbook, but according to history Professor William Guzman, these books play a critical role in the grade a student earns in the courses he teaches.

The professor said students should find a way to get the books because most of the information comes from the text.  

Guzman has even offered his students alternatives from the campus bookstore to obtain an affordable copy of his texts. “The [web] site addresses are printed on my syllabus,” said Guzman.

Some students look for different options to find the required reading.  Some look for bargain prices online at Amazon.com or on eBay.com.  Still others borrow from their peers and some, like Roudy Kersaint, do not buy them at all.

Kersaint, 23, a third-year social work student from Miami said last semester the campus bookstore price for US American History, costs $123, but he did not purchase it.

Used textbooks are sold quickly in bookstores and even those prices can be steep.  In Bill’s Bookstore, “How Things Work: The Physics of Everyday Life” costs $89.50 used, and a used copy of “Organic Chemistry” runs for $102. 

Chegg.com has found a way to combat traditional campus bookstores by purchasing used textbooks from online companies and student sellers to rent them out at lower rates.

The website offers a 30-day return policy if students buy the wrong book, or drop the class.  They also provide free shipping through UPS, to anyone returning a rented book, or selling a book.

Charlene Morris, 42, a teacher from Knoxville, Tennessee is a parent buying for her FAMU child.  “I price the textbooks in the bookstore and write down the required textbooks for each class and order them so they will be here by the time classes start back up,” said Morris.

Charlene said it takes about seven to 10 business days for the book order to come from Chegg, but convenience is worth the savings to her.

“Prices are too high especially since we sell them back for 75 percent less than what we pay for them,” said Lanise Harris, 19, a second-year education student from St. Petersburg, Fla.

According to assistant manager, Elizabeth Livingston, Bill’s Bookstore has to sell used books to any wholesale book buyer once they reach the amount of used books they need.  Livingston said Bill’s Bookstore tries to give back as much money as possible back to students.