By SCOTT LANDHEER
The San Diego City College Bookstore became the first in the district to offer a book rental program this fall when it began renting one title.
The book that was chosen to start the program is “Insel-Core Concepts in Health; Brief,” used in Health 101, in part because every student must take the course to graduate, according to Dee Dee Porter, City College’s bookstore supervisor.
The rental fee is $21 compared to nearly $70 that students would pay to buy the book new.
When starting the program, the first of two requirements Porter wanted to meet was to find a faculty member who would commit to using the same text book for three years, according to district bookstore supervisor, Nancy Wichmann.
The faculty member who agreed, Kathy McGinnis, assistant athletic director and professor of Health, Exercise Science and Athletics, said she first became interested in the idea of book rental when she heard about a similar program that was started at Southwestern College in Chula Vista.
McGinnis said she usually plans to use a book for three years when she chooses one, so the commitment was not a big deal.
The second requirement of starting a program was a funding source to buy the initial 140 books the bookstore needed to start the rental program. Porter contacted associated students president Francisco Fabian to see if the Associated Student Government would be interested in funding the program, and he agreed.
Although Porter said she is hopeful that this new program will be successful and can be expanded, she knows that it wouldn’t be practical to do for every book.
Books used in English courses wouldn’t be an option because all of the sections use different books, and text books that only come packaged with workbooks or CD’s won’t be available to rent either.
When students rent their book, they must sign a contract promising to return the book or pay the replacement price of $72.80 plus tax. Because of the contract, renting books will not be available online and students will have to go into the bookstore.
The $21 rental fee the bookstore takes in will go towards replacing damaged books or ones that are not returned. It will also be used to track down students who don’t pay for the books they rent and then keep.
All 140 of the available books were eventually rented, but even after all of the books for sale were sold out and only books for rent were available, Porter had to order more books for the students who wanted to buy and keep their books.
Porter said some students want to keep their book as a reference because they are going into that particular field, or because they are going into education.
Before the program is expanded to other courses and books, and though it “would have been wonderful to do 10,” Porter said she is waiting to see how many copies of the first book come back at the end of the semester.
“This is a win-win for students,” Porter said. “We’re not touching a lot of students right out of the box, but it’s the best we could do.”