Textbooks That Don't Break the Bank


By Ruth Jacobs

Alumni don’t remember every little detail of college, but most remember this: textbooks are expensive. Used books provide a discount of about 25 percent, which only eases the pain somewhat.

But a new program at Colby, implemented this year as a pilot, takes another approach to lessen the financial burden. Students are now able to rent some textbooks for 40 to 50 percent of the new-book purchase price. “If you don’t have the money up front, it can really be a helpful option,” said Barbara Shutt, director of the Colby bookstore. Students can opt to purchase the book at the end of the semester if they decide they want to keep it (or “if they spill coffee on it or drop it in the pond or something” and don’t want to pay for the damage).

This fall the bookstore offered more than 60 titles as rentals, and students rented about 450 books. Because it was the first year, the bookstore deliberately kept the new program low-key, Shutt said. Still, it was a hit. “I think it’s only going to become more popular.”

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