Could Rental Program affect Third-Party Sellers?

This past weekend many Amazon sellers noticed a new addition to Amazon’s textbook category. For the first time ever, Amazon is now allowing students to rent textbooks for a semester rather than buy them. Since the beginning, the staple of Amazon has been selling books but the introduction of renting has caused third-party sellers to worry. With back-to-school deals on the horizon, this new textbook renting program could have negative outcomes for third-party sellers on Amazon.


Amazon’s new “renting” program offers textbook for 130 day rentals (1 semester) with (1) 15-day extension. Typical textbook listings on Amazon range from $60-$200 but many are now available for rent for less than $50. Amazon’s move into textbook rentals puts them face-to-face with their own third-party sellers.

Although Amazon’s rental program is currently only available in the U.S, every textbook rental is shipped at standard prices with Amazon paying the cost for returns, making it even harder for third-party sellers to compete. Textbooks sales make up a considerable large amount of revenue for sellers on Amazon, and this new program could have unfavorable effects for booksellers.

Even though Amazon launched their Kindle textbooks rentals last year, this weekend marks a changing of the tide as booksellers received an in-depth glance at the future for textbook sales on Amazon. For more information on Amazon’s new textbook rental program is available here.

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