College prep: Options for cutting textbook costs

    The fall semester is approaching, meaning it’s almost time for college-bound students to fork over hundreds of dollars for textbooks. But penny-pinching students have a new way to save. Last week, online retail giant introduced textbook rentals for its Kindle e-reader.

    The Details

    The online retailer says its rentals offer savings of up to 80 percent off the list price of a print textbook. Students can rent from a catalog of tens of thousands of titles from the online Kindle store, which is accessible on the e-reader.

    Books are available from publishers including John Wiley & Sons, Elsevier and Taylor & Francis. Amazon says students can rent the books for as little as 30 days or as many as 360 days, and can decide to buy the book later on.

    Even after a rental expires, students can hold on to the notes and highlights they create. Kindle readers can highlight passages by scrolling over text as if they were copying and pasting it.

    Other Options

    Students who like the feel of a physical textbook are also able to rent. The National Association of College Stores says more than 2,400 of its 3,000 member bookstores offered rentals of physical textbooks in January. Nearly all are expected to do so by this fall.

    Rentals of print books can also be arranged through companies such as and . These services mail books to students and say their rentals can save about the same amount as Amazon’s e-rental service.