Kindle Textbook Rental Now Available!

Amazon has just announced that they are expanding upon the Kindle platform with Kindle Textbook Rental. This is an exciting new turn for Amazon and students who own and utilize Kindles for academic use. Renting textbooks is something that many students have seen before; however, with the already enormous backing that Amazon has, this could be a huge opportunity for students to save some serious cash for the 2011-2012 school year.  Let’s take a look at what exactly Amazon will be offering students with their textbook rental program:

“Tens of thousands of textbooks are available for the 2011 school year from leading textbook publishers such as John Wiley & Sons, Elsevier and Taylor & Francis.”

“Students tell us that they enjoy the low prices we offer on new and used print textbooks. Now we’re excited to offer students an option to rent Kindle textbooks and only pay for the time they need—with savings up to 80% off the print list price on a 30-day rental,” said Dave Limp, vice president, Amazon Kindle.

“We’ve done a little something extra we think students will enjoy,” continued Limp. “Normally, when you sell your print textbook at the end of the semester you lose all the margin notes and highlights you made as you were studying. We’re extending our Whispersync technology so that you get to keep and access all of your notes and highlighted content in the Amazon Cloud, available anytime, anywhere – even after a rental expires. If you choose to rent again or buy at a later time, your notes will be there just as you left them, perfectly Whispersynced.”

Kindle Textbooks are touted as “Rent Once, Read Everywhere” by Amazon due to their compatibility with popular devices using free Kindle Reading Apps for PC, Mac, iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and Android-based devices. The slogan certainly sounds appealing to say the least.

With Amazon’s Kindle Textbook Rental, students can customize the amount of time that they would like to rent their Kindle textbooks — ranging from 30 days all the way to 360 days — which allows students to only have to pay for that specific amount of time the textbook was rented. Amazon textbooks have already had desirable price points, but with this new rental program Amazon is looking like a true haven for students seeking discount textbooks.

The textbook app developer Inkling introduced a a different approach to reading textbooks a couple months ago that involved buying only the parts/chapters of the textbook that you need. However, with Kindle Textbook Rental students will only need to pay for the amount of time they use a certain textbook, and not for a specific part of a textbook. This business model may prove to be a better and more useful choice for students, but time will tell. In my opinion, having the ability to rent an entire digital textbook for a specific amount of time would seem to be pretty helpful for anyone who needs to study for their finals but forgot their textbook at the last minute, or any other similar time sensitive situation. Of course, the savings in general Amazon hopes to offer students is enough for many to jump on the bandwagon I am sure.

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