It's one of those huge markets that everyone wants to get a piece of, and Amazon has had a hit-or-miss record with. The online giant is a favorite spot for students wanting to buy used textbooks on the cheap, but they still have to actually buy the book, wait for it to ship, and then hope it's the right one.
Now, as a way to entice more students to pick up a Kindle, the online retail giant is offering a new service called textbook rentals, wherein users can download an e-book version of the same textbook used in class, but they only have access to it for 30 to 360 days.
In exchange, they'll be able to save a bundle of cash - as much as 80% off the list price for a new, paper version of the book.
Of course, the Kindle itself is an extra expense, worth at least a few good textbooks. So if you're still not too keen on the idea of buying the device, Kindle textbook rentals are available wherever Kindle books are sold - so that means, it's an option for the PC software version of Kindle Books, the Android app, the iPad/iPhone app, etc.
The history of Kindle and textbooks isn't a very harmonious one. When Amazon first launched the Kindle DX, its biggest e-reader as large as a standard textbook, it offered a whole bunch to students as part of a market research project.
The end result was that students actually prefer to have a real book to hold in their hands, literally page through, and mark up as they please. Very few actually preferred the digital option.
But this latest idea is something that can apply universally to practically every single college student - money. Textbooks are one of the biggest expenses that students have to face every quarter or semester, and the Kindle is now offering around 80% off the list price for those willing to give a paper-free, electronic version of those massive back-breaking books.
When the book 'expires,' users will no longer be able to virtually page through it, but any extraneous notes written inside the book will still be accessible.