Like many college students, in my first year I was tricked into believing that a “necessary” textbook that cost $120 or more would be useful to me throughout the semester, and would be referenced several times and used for class assignments. Not so. Most of time, the textbooks would sit unused in my locker, collecting dust. Having learned my lesson after a painful VISA statement in first year, I decided not to buy a textbook ever again, unless I could get it very cheap second hand or share it and split the cost. Amazon.com was a good place for me when looking for used textbooks, and now they’ve announced students will be able to rent textbooks from the Kindle Store and save up to 80 per cent off textbook list prices.
A handy feature is that students can choose how long they want to rent the book, anywhere from 30 to 360 days. That means if you suspect your teacher will ask you to read the textbook in the first two weeks and then never again, you’ll be able to return it at the end of the month. Besides being able to pay only for the specific amount of time you need a book, you can extend any rental period in increments as small as one day or choose to purchase the book at any time.
Even better, if you’ve highlighted and made notes in a textbook and returned it when you thought it wasn’t necessary, you won’t lose all your notes. If your teacher announces two weeks before finals that you’ll need the textbook to study, you can rent it again and your notes will come back, having been chilling in the Amazon Cloud. Kindle Textbooks can be read with free Kindle Reading Apps on PC, Mac, iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and Android-based devices.
Amazon claims that tens of thousands of textbooks are now available for the 2011 school year. Browsing through, I notcied a dreaded textbook from my first year that retails for about $60 in softcover, is only $4.36 in the Kindle Edition. Too bad I didn’t have this option in first year. It’s worth noting many of the Kindle versions of the textbooks only appear to be about $20 cheaper than the softcover prices.