Concordia Bookstore Starts Renting Textbooks

Program Saves Student Money, Time and the Planet

Photo Vicki Pic

After a successful pilot program this summer, Concordia Bookstores will be renting textbooks to students this September at 40 per cent of the books’ full price.

“We sell textbooks new, used and in eBook format. Now we are going to be renting them to students,” said Ken Bissonnette, the Operations Text Manager for Concordia Bookstores. “We are always looking for ways to make it easier, cheaper and cleaner for students to get books.”

With 100 titles and over 1,000 textbooks ready to be rented, Bissonnette said that the new program could reduce the number of counterfeit books made with photocopied pages.

“We got our hands on a copy of one of those books last year,” said Bissonnette about the counterfeits. “The quality was terrible. They sell for about $35, so now we are going to offer a real book for the same price.”

Apart from the Concordia Bookstore, students can also buy and trade books at the Concordia Community Solidarity Co-op Bookstore and through the Inter-Faculty Book Exchange.

“It’s not like it was 15 years ago when we were the only ticket in town and you needed to get your book here,” said Bissonnette.

Already popular in the United States, rentals are new to Canada. Along with Concordia, the University of Toronto ran a trial program this summer.

“Renting seems to be the cheapest and most sustainable alternative,” said Concordia Student Union VP Loyola and Advocacy Hassan Abdullahi.

“The rental idea still hasn’t sunk in with me and I don’t think it has with the majority of students,” said Abdullahi, who worked as a manager at the Inter-Faculty Book Exchange last year. “But it will eventually get there. It’s a good thing.”

With the rentals expected to circulate for four or five semesters before being worn out, Bissonnette said that there was no vandalism or abuse of textbooks during the summer trial.

“We got one book that the student may have dropped, it was dinged on the corners,” said Bissonnette. “But some of the books were pristine, like they were never opened.”

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 03, published August 31, 2010.