Giving you yet another reason (Amazon.com hopes) to buy its Kindle e-reader, the company Monday announced its Kindle Textbook rental program for students.
"Students tell us that they enjoy the low prices we offer on new and used print textbooks. Now we’re excited to offer students an option to rent Kindle textbooks and only pay for the time they need — with savings up to 80 percent off the print list price on a 30-day rental," said Dave Limp, vice president, Amazon Kindle, in a press release.
Amazon says "tens of thousands of textbooks" are available from publishers including John Wiley & Sons, Elsevier and Taylor & Francis.
Students can rent textbooks for up to 360 days, and will only pay for the "specific time they need a book," the company said. Rental times can also be extended day by day.
Renting a textbook is a great idea, but what about all those notes and highlighting students need to do in books?
"Normally, when you sell your print textbook at the end of the semester you lose all the margin notes and highlights you made as you were studying," Limp said. "We're extending our Whispersync (wireless) technology so that you get to keep and access all of your notes and highlighted content in the Amazon Cloud, available anytime, anywhere — even after a rental expires. If you choose to rent again or buy at a later time, your notes will be there just as you left them, perfectly Whispersynced."
Kindle textbooks are also "rent once, read everywhere," so they can be accessed via the Kindle reading app on PCs, Macs, iPads, iPhones, Android, BlackBerry and Windows phones.
Many universities let students rent hard-copy textbooks as well offer e-textbooks. San Diego State University's bookstore, for example, was one of the first in the country to offer an e-textbook program through CourseSmart, a group of textbook publishers, starting in 2008.
To learn more about Amazon.com's program, visit Kindle Textbook rentals page. You can search for the textbooks by using the search bar or by checking Amazon's Textbooks Store. If a Kindle edition is available for rent, you'll see an option in the "Formats" section on the textbook page.
Renting may not be the way to go for everyone, but it's a welcome option in a time of tight finances, with college tuition and expenses a burden for many families.