Barnes & Noble unveils textbook rental service for colleges

The company says it saves students up to 85 percent off the cost of textbooks, trimming overall student textbook costs by more than $40 million over the past two years. reportedly carries two million book titles. allows highlighting in textbooks, but the web site warns against excessive highlighting.

“A book returned with every other line of every page highlighted is overdoing it,” according to the site. does not allow any highlighting or writing in rented books.

Students mail the books back to the rental companies when the rental period—which ranges from a month to a semester—has expired. charges 20 percent of the book’s price if it isn’t returned on time.

The textbook rental market can be tricky, Mickey said, because professors must use the same books for several semesters for book-rental companies to make money on the programs.

“There clearly is new interest in textbook rental programs, but are they going to click any more than they have over the last many decades, who knows?” Mickey said.


Barnes & Noble textbooks