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Textbook Rental Frequently Asked Questions

Click on a question below to see the answer, or just scroll down the screen to see all of the information.

Who is eligible to rent textbooks?
Any St. Olaf College student, 18 years or older, can rent a textbook while supplies last.

Who owns the rental textbooks?
Rental textbooks are the property of the St. Olaf Bookstore at St. Olaf College.

Can I rent all of my textbooks?
Not at this time. We are working with publishers and wholesalers to identify as many rental titles as possible. Generally speaking, a book needs to be a popular title and early in its life cycle to qualify for a rental program. A popular title is defined by the number of colleges and universities using the title. Early life cycle is defined as a recently released edition. Not all textbooks used on campus fall into these two categories.

Can I rent a textbook at any time?
Yes. You can rent a textbook at any time in the semester while supplies last.

How long can I keep the rented textbook?
You can keep the rented textbook until 5:00 p.m. on the last final exam day of the semester in which it was rented.

Is the rental option a better deal?

  • It depends. You need to look carefully at your other options and consider the true end cost and what you want from the book. Do you want the cheapest alternative? Do you want to keep the book for reference? Will you need the book for an upcoming class?
  • Rental fees are generally 50% cheaper than purchasing the new book equivalent but the book has to be returned in salable condition with minimal highlighting and writing. You cannot sell the rented textbook at buyback or keep it for your library.
  • The best economic value in textbooks many times is to buy a used textbook and sell it back at the bookstore’s buyback for 50% of the new price. The 50% can only be paid if the faculty member has notified the bookstore, prior to buyback, that the textbook will be used in an upcoming semester.

How do I rent a textbook?
You can “order” your rental textbook on line for a specific time period at by clicking on Textbooks, or you can see someone in the Textbook Department at the St. Olaf Bookstore. You will need to complete and sign a Textbook Rental Agreement which outlines the Terms and Conditions of the rental Agreement. The Agreement stipulates that the St. Olaf Bookstore will have a valid credit card or debit card on file for Payment Security for applied fees. See “Payment Security” below.

Can I highlight and write in the rented textbook?
Yes. Minimal and normal highlighting and writing is acceptable. The St. Olaf Bookstore determines salable condition and all such decisions are final.

Do I HAVE to rent my textbooks?
No. Renting a textbook is an alternative to purchasing a textbook.

Can I choose to purchase my rented textbook?
Yes. You may choose to purchase your rented textbook at any time by paying the full price of the book – the amount remaining after subtracting the rental fee from the purchase price.

What happens if I drop the class for which I rented the textbook?
Returns of rented textbooks for full refund are accepted until mid-term break if the class has been dropped. You will need to present the St. Olaf Bookstore with your receipt, the rented textbook, and a drop/add slip. Your rental fee will be credited to the original payment tender.

Can I return my rented textbook and have my rental fee refunded?
Only in the following situations:

  1. Proof that the course was cancelled.
  2. You dropped the class and present a drop/add slip by mid-term break.

When do I need to return my rented textbook to the St. Olaf Bookstore?
You need to return your rented textbook to the St. Olaf Bookstore by 5:00 p.m. on the last day of finals for the term.

What happens if my rented textbook is lost, stolen, or damaged?
You are responsible for the rented textbook until such time as you return it to the St. Olaf Bookstore. Additional fees apply if the rented textbook is lost, stolen, damaged, or returned late.

What happens if I do not return my rented textbook?
The rented textbook will be considered “lost” and you will be charged the replacement cost of the book.

Why are additional fees applied if I lose or damage my rented textbook?
The rented textbook is the property of the St. Olaf Bookstore. The additional fees cover the additional expenses of finding another copy of the textbook to replace the one that was lost, stolen, or damaged.

Why can I not return the rented textbook after a specific date?
Our textbook rental program is unique to each term. Each term has a specific end date. Once the end date of a term is reached, all non-returned rented textbooks are considered “lost” and additional fees are applied.

Who do I see with other questions?
Please see the Textbook Manager at the St. Olaf Bookstore with additional questions.