Cawthorn: Book rentals catching on at WKU Store

This semester, students can save some of the time – and money – they might have spent browsing shelves at the campus bookstore.

The WKU Store, formerly the University Bookstore, now allows textbook rental.

To rent, students can log on to to search for books.

Students can search for book rentals by title, author or ISBN – a number that can usually be found on the inside of a textbook or provided on a class syllabus.

Textbooks are mailed to a student’s address directly from the manufacturer, cutting out the need to pick up books from the store, according to the rental website.

Students have the option of renting from 30 days to 125 days, according to the website.

When the rental period is over, students can return books by logging on to the site and following the directions provided by the website’s FAQ section.

Bookstore Director Shawna Cawthorn said the website was immediately successful.

“As soon as we turned the site on, we got our first orders after the first four or five hours,” she said. “It’s taking off because students can rent the books for the entire semester, and there are extensions.”

While the university’s bookstore now offers rentals, it isn’t the only option that students have for book rentals. and the off-campus store University Textbook and Supply, located on 111 Old Morgantown Road, both offer the option of renting books.

Brad Hornal, textbook manager for University Textbook and Supply, says that while renting is a good form of revenue in the long run, it can also cost the store money.

For instance, if a textbook costs $100, a bookstore might pay $80 to buy it from the manufacturer, then students who rent the book pay $50, he said. And that hurts the bookstore.

Hornal said that renting can also be good for the store in the long run.

“If we keep renting the book over and over, we still make a good profit, and we don’t lose a lot of money,” he said.

More students may stop buying books and rent instead, Nashville freshman Tiffany Coursey said.

“It’s definitely cheaper,” she said. “And it will be easier to get your books.”

But Louisville junior Jake Bradford said he will probably just keep buying books.

“I sell them back, and that gets me money, and that’s nice,” he said.