By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
Rent-to-Own for Textbooks
In an interesting development in textbook publishing, McGraw Hill Education and iFlipd–a pay-as-you-go weekly textbook rental platform–are partnering to let students rent select McGraw-Hill titles in both digital and print editions for US$15 per week.
The program allows students after eight weeks to either own the book or to earn a $50 rebate.
Each rental comes with an ebook edition, which is accessed on iFlipd, as well as a print copy, according to a student’s requests. Several points of how the program works are of interest here. Note that in terms of the print book, the student is “renting to own,” as it would be said in real estate. And both digital and print editions make rebates an option:
- If you rent an ebook for at least eight weeks and don’t order the print book, you will continue to have access to the ebook, plus receive a $50 rebate.
- If you rent both the ebook and the print book for at least eight weeks, you will continue to have access to the ebook and own the print book.
- If you return the print book to McGraw-Hill Education, you’ll receive a $50 rebate.
There’s a detailed FAQ about the program here, answering such questions as, “Do I have to receive an ebook?” (Answer: Yes, but you’re not required to use it if you prefer the bundle’s print edition) and “Can I rent all McGraw-Hill titles?” (Answer: No, this program comprises a select group of titles, but the company would like feedback on how well students like it, which obviously could prompt the publisher to add more).
In a prepared statement, Mark Dorman, McGraw-Hill’s president of higher education, professional and international, is quoted, saying, “We’ve spent a lot of time listening to students throughout the country, and understand their need for affordability and choice when it comes to course material.
“We’re excited to be working with iFlipd, as well as other channel partners, to expand the options students have for easily and affordably accessing high-quality McGraw-Hill Education materials to support their success.”
The lesser known of the two entities to publishing professionals, of course, is the delightfully named iFlipd. (Those of us raised in the US South have grown up saying “I nearly flipped,” to mean we were exasperated or thrilled by a situation.)
iFlipd is based in Portland, Oregon, and in addition to its $15 weekly subscription model, it offers points which students can redeem with Nike, Chipotle, Domino’s, Starbucks, Lyft and other companies, all through its partnership with a gift card company.
In its statement to the press, the company’s founding CEO Kati Radziwon, is quoted, saying, “McGraw-Hill Education continues to innovate in higher education, and this new program makes access to textbooks a lot easier for students.
“We do actually have all of McGraw Hill’s titles in print,” Radziwon clarifies to Publishing Perspectives. “The limited pilot is on the bundles (ebook and print), but we have all others for students to rent separately.”
Another thing iFlipd is working with, she tells us, is a GoFundMe arrangement that allows students to crowdfund for their textbook costs. “Those funds are then used in iFlipd to help cover the cost of their books,” she says. “This is getting a lot of traction and we are very excited about helping students crowdsource their textbooks.”
A handsome example of content included in this pilot is here and features Philip Stein’s textbook Physical Anthopology, in its 11th edition.
McGraw-Hill Education has the capacity to promulgate this model far beyond the USA. It has offices, of course, in India, China, Europe, the Middle East, and South Africa, and operates in 60 languages.
Here’s iFlipd’s promotional video for its textbook rental model.