Amazon lets students rent digital textbooks

Amazon Textbook Rental

Students will be able to rent Kindle eBooks for less than buying them

Amazon has unveiled a system to let students rent textbooks using a Kindle.

Kindle Textbook Rental could save as much as 80% of the cost of a book, the company claims, by letting students access textbooks for 30 to 360 days.

Students will be able to extend rentals day by day, and use either the Kindle hardware or free apps to access them.

All margin notes and highlighted passages will be stored in the Amazon Cloud after the rental expires.

"Normally, when you sell your print textbook at the end of the semester you lose all the margin notes and highlights you made as you were studying," said Dave Limp, vice president of Amazon Kindle.

"We're extending our Whispersync technology so that you get to keep and access all of your notes and highlighted content in the Amazon Cloud, available anytime, anywhere - even after a rental expires. If you choose to rent again or buy at a later time, your notes will be there just as you left them, perfectly Whispersynced."

The retailer said "tens of thousands of textbooks" will be available for the 2011 school year, from publishers including John Wiley & Sons, Elsevier and Taylor & Francis. If a book is available to be rented, it will be noted in the "available formats" on its page, with a calculator to figure out the cost for the rental period.

Asked if the rental system would make its way to the UK, a spokesman said the company had "nothing to announce at this time".

Amazon already offers a textbook buyback programme, promising as much as 70% back on the cost of paper books.

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