The CCSJ book rental program was launched this semester, and it is already polarizing opinions.
Supporters of the program emphasize the benefits of time, convenience, and cost. Critics point out that the cost of their textbooks do not add up to the flat $350.00 fee. Additionally, choice of the book format—hard/soft cover or electronic—is no longer an option. The books are shipped to the campus library a few weeks before classes begin and can be picked up the week before classes begin.
Tenaytia Sanford, a senior studying forensic accounting, said “this was the first semester that I have had all of my books on time and ready for class.”
Students can no longer use the excuse of not having the book to turn in late assignments. The convenience factor of having someone else order the required textbooks cannot be overstated.
First of all, there is a plethora of websites that will rent textbooks to students. This can affect the quality of the books received as the definition of “gently used” can vary greatly. Using the campus library as the central hub for receiving and returning the rentals allows for uniform quality in textbooks. Secondly, if the most economical cost of acquiring the books requires using multiple rental services, then there is the problem of having to receive and return multiple shipments.
While using the campus library will not eliminate multiple shipments, it does allow the student to make just one trip to receive all of their books. Finally, depending on shipment method, students using online rental services may not be present to sign for delivery. This can further delay the receipt of textbooks. The library does make you sign for the books, but there is no waiting around for the delivery agent to arrive. Depending on the student’s major and year in school, the flat rate may equal the cost of a single book.
Kristopher Koesema, a junior studying forensic accounting, said, “All the books for my 400 level classes are $300 or more. So I think the book rental program is a good idea.”
Koesema compares the program to a “double-edged sword” that can be an advantage to some, while being a disadvantage to others. The program’s benefits must be analyzed on an individual basis because some students will end up overpaying for their books.
The program has negatively affected Chantel Johnson, a communications major in her senior year. Johnson usually pays about $100 for books per semester. This semester she paid more than three times that amount.
“That doesn’t make sense to me—to make us pay for books and we aren’t going to use the full amount,” she said.
She goes on to say that most teachers provide the reading material that she needs.
“I empathize with students who have overpaid for their books. I don’t like overpaying for anything, much less a book that I will only use for 16 weeks of my life. I would also much rather have the e-books on my phone or tablet than have to lug around 20 pounds of textbooks on my back,” Johnson said.
In this situation, it is best to focus on the greater benefit, which is that every student will, or should, have their books on the first day of class. As we have already seen, this is not possible if the responsibility of acquiring the books is left to the student.
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