Did you know that on average, each college student buys about one tree worth of textbooks each semester? Over the course of a 4 year degree, that is 8 trees being used just for textbooks that students use for a few months at a time! And while the ones that are in good condition at the end of each semester can be sold back to the bookstore and sold as used next year, not all of them get returned – many of them get thrown out. Books that cost $100 are sometimes just tossed aside! Textbook makers really have the market cornered on wasting paper and wasting student’s money. However, I was reading a magazine this weekend and came across a blurb for a company called Chegg.com, which rents textbooks to college students. Brilliant idea, terrible name!
They seem to be doing everything right – they have over a million titles, return shipping is free, the rental fee is a one time fee that looks to be around 60% off the original cost of the book (depending on the title), and they plant a tree (in partnership with Eco-libris, which I wrote about last year) for each book that is rented. Since they have been in business, they have planted over 100 acres of trees; not a bad return for renting books that you have had to buy anyway!
From their website: At Chegg, we love books. We also love the environment. Renting textbooks is a great way to save money and reuse our natural resources. When we realized that 20 million trees a year are consumed for books – 4 million for textbooks alone – we decided it was time to give a little back to Mother Nature. That’s why we plant a tree for every book you rent, buy, sell or donate! Together we can make a difference, one book at a time.
I wish they had a service like this when I was back in college, and I hope it continues to grow and more students start using it. If you are or know of someone going back to college this fall, be sure to let them know about it. Yet another idea that I wish I had thought up that passed me by!
Photo by Plutor