Textbook rental saves money at Fresno State

Most college students get their first hard lesson before setting foot in class: a crash course in economics delivered by the campus bookstore, where textbooks cost hundreds of dollars.

Now, students at California State University, Fresno, can catch a break. Through a new program, at least 80% of textbooks at the Kennel Bookstore are available for rent.

Campus officials say students could save as much as 75% off the cover price -- a more budget-friendly option for those struggling with college costs.

The partnership between the bookstore and, an online textbook rental company, is a sure sign of change within the market. Beyond buying new or used textbooks, today's students can rent textbooks or buy "ebooks" -- electronic versions downloaded to a computer.

Experts say "ebooks" aren't in widespread use; Fresno State offers only about 200 titles. But rental programs are growing online and on campuses.

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