Monday, August 03, 2009

Rent a Textbook, Plant a Tree

I usually try not to mandate an expensive textbook for my courses as I usually can find online resources that fulfill the information need. However, I have been using the Grabe book, Integrating Technology for Meaningful Learning with a high degree of success. The downside is that the book costs $110 new! Students who purchase the book online for a discount usually have difficulty getting it shipped within a few weeks in time for class or end up with an older edition.

Now there is a new type of service called: Chegg

Chegg allows you to rent textbooks at a substantial discount. The above referenced Grabe book is $40 to rent for the semester plus shipping, with a shipping date guaranteed.

Also, you get to contribute to saving the environment as Chegg plants a tree for every book it rents.

Here is their story excerpted from their website:

Chegg is the vision of two young entrepreneurs from the Midwest, Osman and Aayush. They started this company because these guys passionately believed that there was a smarter, more economical model than buying expensive college textbooks. It's called renting. After all, we rent tuxedos, we rent DVDs, we rent tons of stuff that's not efficient to own, or that we need to use only once.

So in 2007 they opened shop online with a bold dream of fixing an industry that Wikipedia calls a "broken model" where prices are "out-of-control." Most people told Osman and Aayush that they could never challenge the conventional way textbooks were sold -- that shelling out over $1,000 a year on college textbooks was just a fact of life. Well, they didn't buy it.

It wasn't easy in the beginning; at one point they were buying so many textbooks on so many credit cards that American Express shut them down. But college students loved what they were doing and kept them open.

In fact, students kept coming back and telling their friends. So Chegg grew through word of mouth, without marketing because it was simple and right. Maybe it's obvious, but by renting and re-circulating books, hundreds of thousands of trees are saved every year. And what's more, Chegg plants a new tree for every book it rents. So far, over 750 acres of forest exist thanks to all the students who have chosen to rent from Chegg.


At 7:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I truly believe that we have reached the point where technology has become one with our society, and I am fairly certain that we have passed the point of no return in our relationship with technology.

I don't mean this in a bad way, of course! Societal concerns aside... I just hope that as technology further advances, the possibility of transferring our brains onto a digital medium becomes a true reality. It's one of the things I really wish I could experience in my lifetime.

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