Book rental program set for the new semester


File photo from Pixabay

Maia Lathrop, Graphic Designer

You’re a student who is ready to pick up your textbooks. You head to the Truax Bookstore, and the staff helps you find out the material you need for each class.

All your materials are brought out to you, and at the check-out you only have to pay for additional online codes or single use materials like workbooks.

All of this is possible because of Madison College’s textbook rental program, which was approved by a student referendum last year and implemented this summer.

The Summer 2019 term offered a test-run for the new textbook rental system.

Madison College students now pay a $7 per credit fee for books. Rather than having to pay at the bookstore, this fee is simply included in their tuition.

Scott Heiman, the bookstore manager, expressed excitement about saving students money while improving their academics. By allowing students to rent their textbooks per semester, students don’t have to choose between paying for food and buying their books.

“There’s been a lot of times over the years that I’ve had conversations with students who are in a position where they are literally trying to decide if they are going to put gas in their car or buy a textbook,” Heiman said. “Sometimes it’s like, well I can’t get here without gas in my car, but hopefully I can get by in class for a while until my next paycheck.”

“With the rental, we have the answer to that question. For the vast majority, the answer should be you can put gas in your car because your book is a rental book you don’t have to pay anything extra. You paid your $7 per credit already and you can put gas in your car and food on your table. That’s going to be awesome.”

Heiman said the bookstore additionally saves students money by negotiating with publishers on book pricing.

“We’ve had some success with [it] for a reduction in price,” he said. “Not every publisher and not every case, but if we are able to get that reduction in price, we pass that savings on to students… sometimes it doesn’t work but we try.”

Students who don’t want to participate in the program can opt-out, although it is anticipated that the vast majority will participate. More information on the rental program can be found online by searching “bookstore” on the Madison College website.

During the summer, the bookstore was able to essentially test run the program and work out small kinks. According to Heiman, the real test will be seeing if students return their books by Aug. 30 as listed on their rental material.

To help students remember to return their books, emails and text message reminders have been sent out to those who signed up for it online. The bookstore even has an after-hour drop-box outside the store for student to use for returning the rental books.

Heiman said he could not stress enough the importance of returning the books on time. That way, students avoid having to pay the full cost of the textbook. If books are returned within eight days after the due date, there is a late fee of $20 per book. If a book is more than eight days overdue, students will be charged full price for it.

“We need the books back on time so we can rent them out for the following semester,” Heiman said. 

The key to saving money through the program is returning your rental books on time.

“This wonderful experience of saving money on textbook rental can be pretty negative if you don’t return your books at the end of the year and have to pay the replacement fee,” he said.

This fall, students can order their books online through the Madison College bookstore and have them delivered for a shipping fee or pick them up for free from any of the Madison College locations, including regionals.

At the bookstore, there will be two lines – one for online pick-ups and one for those who haven’t ordered online. If you want to save time, consider ordering online.

Heiman reminds students that if you stop by the bookstore to order your books, make sure to bring your Madison College OneCard. It helps the bookstore staff more quickly look up the books you need.

“I think there’s going to be a little bit of apprehension because they’re not sure (of the rental program), but I think once they see how it works, I think their excitement is going to rise,” Heiman said. “For those who have been involved, like Student Senate and stuff, I’m sure they feel just like I do like, yes!”