The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Overdue textbooks may stall new rental program

A pilot textbook rental program is still working out its glitches while continuing to provide reduced price books for the spring semester.

During the fall term only 35 percent of the books rented from the Matador Bookstore were returned by the Dec. 19 deadline, said Amy Berger, director of the Matador Bookstore, via e-mail correspondence.

‘Rather than charge those students, the bookstore extended the deadline and has been contacting students to remind them to return the books,’ said Berger.

The program’s success relies on students returning books before the next semester starts because any time lag causes a shortage of inventory for students enrolled in future classes.

Still in its pilot phase, the Rent-A-Text program started when five professors signed on to make their textbooks available for rent through the Matador Bookstore.

As previously reported on by the Daily Sundial, professors Michael Neubauer (Developmental Mathematics), Ivor Weiner (Special Education), Ashley Skylar (Special Education), Meiqin Wang (Art) and Dianne Philibosian (Recreation and Tourism Management) have signed on for the three-year commitment.

In order to participate in the program there must either be a commitment by the instructor or the department to use the book for three years, Berger said. The commitment for this pilot program is two years.

Berger said if a student chooses to rent books, he/she pays 35 percent of the purchase price and secure the rental with a credit card.

Students need to meet some conditions in order to return rentals without incurring additional fees.

‘The (credit) card is not charged as long as the book is returned at the end of the term, in salable condition,’ said Berger.

Some students didn’t know the Matador Bookstore’s pilot textbook rental program existed.
‘No, I didn’t know about it,’ said Mark Guirguis, a junior film major, when asked about the program.

Brianna Duffy, a junior music major, is aware of the Rent-A-Text program but prefers to buy her books through the Matador Bookstore.

‘If I don’t rent I can keep my books and use them for the rest of my life instead of renting them and having to give them back and spending only a little less money,’ Duffy, 20 said.

Since the program isn’t available to the whole campus, students have resorted to alternatives to the Matador Bookstore to find reasonable prices for textbooks.

‘I would try to find somebody who had the book or actually if you go online there are several online places that you can buy the book from and it is way cheaper than the bookstore,’ said Guirguis, 28.

Zane Beima, a senior music major, admits there are issues with ordering books through online sites such as and

‘I tried the online (Web sites) a couple of times but (the book) comes too late, and by that time you have assignments due,’ Beima said. ‘It becomes troublesome.’

Another issue with purchasing textbooks online is that unlike the bookstore, the books aren’t categorized by professor,’ said Duffy, but often by book title or International Standard Book Number (ISBN).

‘I’d say make sure you know exactly what books you need if you’re going to go to Amazon or,’ Duffy said. ‘At least in the bookstore they tell you exactly what your professor wants you to have.’

There are a few new Web sites offering students the opportunity to save money on textbooks. provides a Web site listing with the best prices for textbook. There is also that allows students to rent their textbooks at a reduced price and to return them by mail at the semesters end.

The Rent-A-Text program hasn’t been offered to the whole campus just yet as it irons out some of its kinks. It’s still in the feasibility stage, Berger said.

Berger urged anyone who rented books last semester and hasn’t yet returned them, to contact the bookstore immediately to avoid additional charges and keep the program running.

‘Success of the program is dependent on the campus agreeing to use a particular title for multiple terms,’ she said. ‘As well as students remembering to return rental texts at the end of the term.’

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