Case Study: Wichita State University

Although they were initially apprehensive, Wichita State University Bookstore understood the importance of offering their students a rental option. After expanding their existing program with MBS Rental, the store now rents to nearly half of their student population.

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Non-Serialized Rental Saves Store Valuable Time and Effort

The store started small with rental

With upfront savings on their minds, students across the country are demanding textbook rental. But, many college stores are hesitant to offer the option because of the perceived extra labor and financial risk involved. Wichita State University Bookstore, who has offered rental since early 2011, was definitely no exception.

"We were very nervous!" admitted Lisa Fitzsimmons, course materials manager. "But, it was becoming such a popular choice that we knew we had to give it a chance. It was important to offer our students another affordable option."

According to Fitzsimmons, the store's biggest concern was the logistics of implementing a program.

"We were concerned about the effort it would take to get rental up and running both on the front end, of offering the books through our system, and the back end when students returned their books at the end of the semester," she said. "It's one thing to see or hear about how something will work, but it's always different to actually experience it."

Based on their apprehensions, the store decided to start small by renting only five titles in the fall of 2010 for some of their larger core classes where the option would have the most impact.

Realizing it was much easier than they expected, the store then expanded with non-serialized rental

After seeing how the process worked, however, they wished that they had rented more! In fact, the following semester, the store offered 125 titles for rent, demonstrating their confidence in the program. After that, rental at Wichita State has only continued to grow.

With Rent at POS, we've been able to greatly improve our processing time for rentals.

— Lisa Fitzsimmons

In the fall of 2011, the store took advantage of MBS Rental's non-serialized option, which significantly reduced their labor and allowed them to expand the program yet again.

"It was an absolute night and day difference," she explained. "Before, we would spend so much time placing stickers on our books, but that completely eliminated with non-serialized rental. Plus, we no longer have to worry about running out of inventory; we just assign the book as a rental, put it out there, and go on with our day. The reduced workload has been so valuable to us!"

Rent at POS offered convenience for students, as well

Non-serialized rental saved time for the students too, with the ability to Rent at POS. "We used to have a big line because students would have to stop and fill out their rental contract separately before checking out," she said.

"With Rent at POS, we've been able to greatly improve our processing time for rentals. Now, students just have to wait in one line and we print their contract directly on their receipt!"

Since their transition to non-serialized rental, Wichita State University Bookstore has seen increased use of their rental program, proving its popularity among students.

"This past semester, we rented approximately 6,000 textbooks which, on a campus of 15,000, which means we're renting to nearly half of the student population," she explained. "They're so excited to have the option of renting their textbooks and love how easy the process is; it's been very successful!"

Fitzsimmons recommends MBS Rental to other interested stores

To stores who are considering starting a rental program, Fitzsimmons has one piece of advice: "Jump into it!"

"Enlist the help of everyone in your store and put your heads together to create a program that best meets your needs. Having a used book and/or systems provider who already has a great process in place made it much easier for us!" she said. "We were apprehensive at first and drug our feet, but it's been a very good."

About Wichita State University:

  • FTE: 15,000
  • Integrated non-serialized rental in fall 2011
  • Rented textbooks to nearly half their student population in fall 2011

About MBS Rental:

  • Use the "Rent at POS" feature for all rental titles
  • Eliminate the need to serialize inventory
  • No worry about renting over the guaranteed amount
  • Collect rental textbooks at the buyback counter
  • Eliminate the need to check in rental
  • Allow students to rent with financial aid, campus card and/or split tenders