Amazon Kindle Textbook Rentals: Possible Cost Savings This School Year?

Anyone who has bought school textbooks knows about the relatively large price it adds to education. In 2006, the U.S. Department of Education issued a report titled An Economic Analy[s]is of Textbook Pricing and Textbook Markets (and yes, there is a spelling error in its title) which said:

Between 1986 and 2004, textbook prices rose 186 percent in the United States, or slightly more than six percent per year (GAO, 2005). Meanwhile, other prices rose only about three percent per year (GAO, 2005).

Students may find it profitable to purchase the economics textbook from a British bookseller and then pay to have it
transported back to the United States.

For example, in mid-July 2006, Barnes and Noble’s (U.S.) website offered to sell a new copy of Krugman and Wells’ Economics textbook for $126.75, whereas Blackwell’s in Great Britain advertised the same book on its web site at $76.31. Needless to say, it does not cost $50.44 to send the book from Oxford to the United States.

There may be a simpler way to save money on textbooks for the coming school year, however. Amazon announced:

Students Can Now Save Up To 80% with Kindle Textbook Rental

The “up to 80%” off goes into play if the rental is for a 30-day period. Rental periods can be any length between 30 and 360 days. Amazon says the books are “Rent Once, Read Everywhere.” This means that any of the Kindle readings apps or the Kindle itself can be used to read the rented textbook.

There is the possibility that a textbook owner could sell the textbook after the school year and incur less of a cost than renting the textbook.

You can find the Kindle Textbook rental site at:

FYI: Another interesting commentary on the reasons for the perceived high costs of school textbooks can be found in this Billings Gazette article:

Why are textbook costs so high?