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Chegg.com, Barnes & Noble, and other local bookstores have been renting textbooks to college students for several years now. But there is a new player in the textbook rental business – Amazon.com. This is according to a story on TechCrunch.com.

The Seattle-based company just announced a new textbook rental program for college students in the United States. Although the company has been renting digital versions of various textbooks to students through its Kindle e-reader, this new venture will focus strictly on regular hardback and paperback textbooks.

The new program will allow students to rent these textbooks for up to 130 days. Most college semesters comprise about four months (roughly 16 weeks), which adds up to about 100 days. This will give students plenty of leeway to get their books and send them back in enough time.

According to Amazon, the rental program should save students up to 70% off the regular retail prices of textbooks. Students will have to cover the shipping costs of the books, but Amazon will cover the return shipping costs. Although the company is not able to guarantee that these textbook rentals are brand new, students will have the ability to return any textbooks that they don’t feel are in good enough condition to use within 30 days to get a full refund on the books.

A book currently offered by Amazon for rent in both digital and paper form is the 2011 edition of Intermediate Accounting, written by Donald E. Kieso. The rental price for a regular textbook is $57. The price to rent a digital version of the book is $53.79. A new printed copy of the book costs $195.47.

Keep in mind that there will be a late fee for students who fail to send their books back on time. Amazon will extend the rental period for materials that are returned late by 15 days. Students will have to pay a late fee for this. After this 15-day period passes, students will be required to pay the full regular price of the textbook.

Renting college textbooks has become a major business in recent years. Most campus bookstores offer the service to save students money. In many cases, you can save over half the price of a regular new or used textbook by renting it. Even though Amazon has sold numerous new and used textbooks for many years at very reasonable prices, this new service will give students another option on where to get their books, especially if they are considering renting them.

Be sure to use Textbooks.org to compare prices on both textbooks for purchase and textbooks for rent. This includes many of the items offered through Amazon. As more rental services pop up, students will have to keep track of more price options that become available. Textbooks.org is a one-stop shop for this information.