Textbook Rentals and Social Media Combine to Increase Marketshare

January 20, 2011

Student RentalsOn-campus textbook rentals continue their explosive growth across the nation. As of January 2011, more than 430 of our college and university partners offered a textbook rental program through the campus bookstore.  And while rentals are unquestionably popular with students, they are also becoming a bulwark against the recent trend of students buying their books from off-campus or online vendors.

Based on preliminary data from the fall 2010 term, Barnes & Noble campus bookstores that offered a rental program increased their textbook market share as compared to stores that didn’t offer a textbook rental program.  In short, textbook rentals are good for business.

The tremendous popularity of the rental program can be attributed to its student-friendly features as well as the extensive use of social media to promote rentals on campus. Schools offering the rental program have a dedicated Rental tab on the bookstore’s Facebook page. “Students today are far more inclined to use social media as an information resource, as opposed to a conventional website, ” says Shanin Molinaro, Director of Marketing & Promotions. “By providing rental information on the store’s Facebook page students are becoming more aware of, and interested in, using the bookstore’s rental program.”  Barnes & Noble is a leader in harnessing the power of social media to connect with students with more than 500 individual Facebook pages for its campus bookstores.

Students who do rent from the bookstore give it consistently high marks with more than 95% rating the experience as “good to great”  and an equal number reporting that they would rent from the bookstore again.  We expect interest in on-campus textbook rentals will continue to expand as students discover the convenience of having access to the many options (new, used, eTextbooks, and rentals) and price points they want and need from one trusted source, the campus bookstore.