Dec 1, 2011 8:14 PM by Ariel Wesler

Hancock College expands textbook rental program

More students are renting their textbooks at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria to save money and the program continues to grow.

The books cost about half the used book price and about 60 percent less than a new book. The program started in 2008 after a state initiative encouraged colleges to try textbook rentals.

At the time, just a couple dozen books were available for rent. Those numbers have since tripled.

Books for rent have been flying off the shelves this fall.

"I'd rather pay $25-$30 to rent a book then paying over $100, said Ryan Fonseca, a student.

Before the program began three years ago, Allan Hancock College sold more used books than most colleges in the state and twice the national average.

"The used book price is tied to the new book price and as new book prices shot up, used book prices shot up and we were pricing students out of the market," said Bookstore Services Director Bill Hockensmith.

Now, the bookstore is trying to keep up with student demand. The number of books available for rent has jumped significantly.

"It started out back with only 30 books, a couple classes. It's now expanded to over a hundred titles," Hockensmith said.

Some of the most popular are for general education classes.

"Books are expensive, especially the science books," said Student Vianey Bras.

This semester, students at Allan Hancock rented about 2,400 books and over the life of the program, they've saved more than half a million dollars.>

"When I had to rent them, they were brand new books, so it cut it in half and I only work part time, so it really helped a lot," said Student Adrienne Smith.

Currently, rentals make up about 15 percent of their business. The bookstore plans to add more books for rent each semester until the program makes up at least a quarter of the store's business.

"Less money on textbooks and more money on supplies and a good time," Smith said.

We also checked in with Cuesta College and Cal Poly. Both schools have textbook rental programs.


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