eCampus Capitalizes on Amazon’s Exit From Textbook Rental Space

eCampus textbook rental says it is making the most of Amazon’s decision to end textbook rentals.

The company, which sells textbooks and course materials, announced Tuesday (May 23) that it would keep offering textbook rentals, something it had been doing in partnership with Amazon.

“College students have long relied on Amazon when it comes to renting textbooks, not realizing that was behind the scenes fulfilling those orders since 2012,” President and CEO Matt Montgomery said in a news release.

Amazon announced last year that it was winding down its print textbook rental program, which came to a close last month.

“Following an assessment of our print textbook rentals and our magazine and newspaper subscriptions and single-issue sales, we have made the difficult decision to discontinue these services,” Amazon spokesperson Lindsay Hamilton told Publishers Weekly in 2022.

The decision came as Amazon embarked on an effort to cut costs. It’s a project that is still ongoing, with the company last month closing down its U.K.-based business Book Depository in a move that PYMNTS said “underscores how the online juggernaut has recalibrated, and still is revamping, its business model.”

With Amazon’s exit from the textbook rental space, eCampus says it has emerged as the leader for that marketplace, claiming it has nearly one million available rental titles on its site, “an availability of almost four times that of competitors.”

And that’s good news for college students struggling to pay the steep cost of textbook purchases. It’s an issue that last year led buy now, pay later (BNPL) company Sezzle to join forces with the Independent College Bookstore Association to help students pay for books.

“Today’s generation of college students is drowning in debt more than ever before in an endless cycle of inflated student loans, textbooks, and cost of living,” Sezzle said in a news release.

“Textbook prices have skyrocketed for decades. Between 1977 and 2015, the cost of textbooks increased 1,041%, and outpaced currency inflation by 238%,” the company added. “In more recent years, an emphasis on textbook affordability as a means to improve student outcomes has become a focus throughout higher education.”

Meanwhile, research by PYMNTS finds a large share of college-aged consumers are working side jobs to cover expenses.

More than a third of employed Gen Z individuals also hold a secondary gig, according to “New Reality Check: The Paycheck-to-Paycheck Report,” a PYMNTS and LendingClub collaboration.

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