Exciting news for students everywhere hit the web, as Amazon.com announced that they now offer textbook rentals for students with discounts as high as a 70% off the price to purchase the book. Textbook renting has been around through other avenues for awhile, but because so many students already have accounts, and an established relationship, with Amazon, the ability to rent textbooks through the popular online seller makes it even easier.

Amazon already offers a service called Amazon Student, which, like their Amazon Prime, offers free two-day shipping on all orders for an anual fee, but unlike Amazon Prime, Amazon Student accounts get the first 6 months free. For those with an Amazon Student account, you will still enjoy the free two-day shipping that you would of purchases. For those who do not have an Amazon Student account, you can still take part in the Amazon rental program, but standard shipping fees to receive the book will apply. All textbook returns are free of charge.

The Amazon textbook rental program allows students to rent books for up to 130 days, although a 15 day rental period extension will be granted for those who need more time with the book. If a student has to retake the class the next semester, they can simply renew the rental period for the same rental fee they were charged in the first semester. Students also have the option of purchasing the book at anytime during the rental period.

Because, as with any other book rental service, the books will be changing hands frequently, Amazon does employ guidelines to ensure that their books stay in good condition for the next renter. Students returning a rented book to Amazon in poor condition will be charged the full purchase price of the book. Book blemishes that would cause the student to be charged include:

Smoke or fire damage
Missing, loose or torn pages
Strong odors such as cigarette or mildew
Excessive highlighting or writing
Torn or taped cover
Broken binding or spine
Water damage including: pages that are swollen, wavy or discolored, stained or crinkled

Students will be sent reminders as they near their book return due date so that they don’t risk being charged for the book. Students not returning their books by the due date will have their due date automatically extended and be charged for 15 extra days. Those who still do not return their books will be charged the full purchase price of the book.

Because this is a new program for Amazon, it is currently only available to students within the continental United States, Alaska and Hawaii. To learn more about Amazon.com’s student textbook rental service, visit their website.