We’ve written several articles and stories on the rising popularity of electronic textbooks, and overwhelmingly, students have been willing and eager to use digital versions of class texts, to save money and space.
Many companies have been eager to get into the digital textbook market, but so far, e-textbooks have failed to catch on and are not yet widely used. However, Amazon has decided to step into the market, launching Kindle Textbook Rental, a program designed to let students rent their books from the Kindle Store.
With significantly lower prices than a traditional textbook (up to 80% off), Amazon’s new service may just be the push that launches students into a new, completely digital era, making heavy, hard cover paper textbooks a thing of the past.
The new Amazon Textbook Rental store has tens of thousands of textbooks from publishers like John Wiley & Sons, Elsevier, Taylor & Francis, and many other popular textbook authors.
Students can pay for the exact amount of time they need with the textbook, using customizable rental periods between 30 and 360 days, so there’s no overpaying, and a rented book can be purchased at any time. Savings will be up to 80% off of the list price on a 30-day rental.
Most students chose to sell their textbooks back at the end of the semester, for a nominal price. Selling textbooks means that students lose all notes and highlights made while studying, but that will no longer be the case with Amazon’s rental service. Amazon’s Whispersync technology has been extended, so that students will keep all access to notes and highlighted content in the Amazon Cloud, which will still be accessible even after a rental has expired.
Textbooks from Amazon’s Kindle rental service can be purchased once and read on multiple devices using Kindle’s reading apps for PC, Mac, iOS, Android, and more. Textbooks on the iPad have proven to be popular, and more and more students have reported owning an iPad, which is a great device for storing textbooks.
This may very well be the beginning of the end for the print textbook, now that book retailing giant Amazon has gotten involved. Of course, this service is still only available for textbooks that offer an electronic version, meaning some textbooks have limited availability. However, if the service catches on, we’re sure to see more and more textbook publishers offering digital editions, relieving the backpack loads of students everywhere. As an iPad user, to access rentals from the Kindle Textbook Rental, you will need to download the Kindle app from the App Store. To check out the available books, visit Amazon’s Textbook page.