Laurier continues textbook rentals

(Photo by Ryan Hueglin)

This is the second year that the Bookstore will be running a textbook rental service for Laurier students, as an alternative to buying textbooks. Last year, the Bookstore implemented a web-based textbook rental service, through an opportunity offered to them from Paulett Higher Education,a large used textbook retailer that they had already been doing business with.

“We looked at multiple options and we found that we already had a relationship with Paulett, and we found that they would be able to supply more of our books as rental books,” Mike Zybala, manager of academic materials, said.

Tied into the Bookstore’s website, they are currently in the midst of uploading the list of books for students who wish to rent books through the rental website called Skyo. Students are able to select the courses they need, see which books are rented and which books are rentable. Skyo also allows students to rent books for different periods of time.

According to Zybala, “rental books are anywhere from close to 60 per cent of the cost of the book to the new price”.

Mary Andraza, manager academic materials, explained how it’s convenient for students. After a student orders the book, they can pick it up and return it at the Bookstore.

“We used a web-based system to check in the book so the company knows it’s returned. Then we are responsible for the book and ensuring it gets back to the vendor,” she said. “This ensures that there are no delays or additional costs to the student.”

So far, uptake of the system has not been as high as expected.

“In the fall term we rented 54 units and roughly about the same in the Winter [semester],” Zybala said.

However, many students are unaware the service exists.

“If I had known about this rental system, I would 100 per cent be doing that instead and will probably look into that for this year,” said third-year communication studies student Shannon Stone.

Other options for university students include the company, who runs the largest buyback program in Canada outside university run programs. is a web-based company providing Canadian university students with a list of rentable textbooks, which will be shipped directly to them, and is shipped for free back to the company at the end of the semester.

“[We] only rent books that are in very good condition, any book with water damage or highlighting we won’t rent, a lot of the times it is a brand new book,” Brandon Luft, the company’s CEO,said.

Liz Dirksen, a third-year communications and film studies student, finds this service beneficial.

“I like to write in my textbooks and highlight and things so I think a disadvantage would be having to keep them in order,” she said. also has a buyout option at the end of the semester, which allows students to buy the book if they wish to keep it.

However, not all students feel renting is necessary.

“I’d rather just buy it, especially if it has to do with my major,” Renae Mohammed, a third-year sociology student, said. “The money doesn’t matter.”

“I think our real focus, as it has been and will continue to be, is to provide as many options as possible to students and customers and then try to assist them in making a decision that best fits their needs,”  Zybala concluded.

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