Printed from THE DAILY JOURNAL, dtd. 09/05/2005
College textbook woes answered
By Heather Murtagh
Year after year college students face high textbook costs with an
increasing number of books to purchase, but the San Mateo County
Community College District is combating the cost for students with a rental
This is the second semester the program will be running at Cañada and
Skyline Colleges offering students in participating majors the choice to
purchase the book at either full or used price or rent the book at a
In most cases, the rental cost is about two-thirds less than the full price.
For example, one book that costs $100 to purchase new and maybe $70
used can be rented for $28 a semester. It has to be returned at the end of
the semester in good condition without any writing or marks. The rental
price is based on costs to the bookstore.
“Textbook rental talks started about four or five years ago, but that’s just
what it was — talk. People assumed it would be too time consuming,
putting out every reason out there not to do it,” said Tom Bauer, director
of bookstore operations for the San Mateo County Community College
It’s a rather simple process. Students enrolled in participating classes who
want to rent the book must show up to the first class meeting and get an
authorization form from the professor. The contract should be taken to the bookstore, pick up the book in the rental area and pay for the
Within the classes offering book rentals, 95 percent of the students enrolled are participating in the rental program, said Jai Kumar,
bookstore manager at Cañada College.
“Students can walk into this store and not afford a book. But now we can see to it that the student gets the book,” Bauer said.
For a department to become active in the program, it must commit to using the same books for a minimum of two years. And the books
have to be purchased somehow, by either the department fronting the money or with grant money.
Early Childhood Education is one of the