While textbook-rental companies have been around for a few years, it seems they have been growing in popularity with each college semester.
Chegg is one of these companies. A company officer said that the company took in more than $10-million in revenue in 2008, The New York Times reported, and that Chegg took in as much this past January alone.
When the company began, it billed itself as “the Netflix for college textbooks.” Textbooks are mailed to students for a 125-day period, with the option to purchase the book. Comparing the amount spent on rentals to a book’s listed sale price, the company’s Web site says Chegg has saved students more than $40-million, or between 65 percent and 85 percent of their book costs.
In addition to Chegg, several other companies sell, rent, and buy textbooks as an alternative to dealing with the college bookstore, and some colleges have also started to rent books to students to try to save them money. —Marc Beja