Digital textbook rental is on the rise at universities across the country, as students are looking to spend less on textbooks and are beginning to adopt eReaders and eReading on PCs. Joining the likes of sites like and Barnes & Noble’s Nook Study, Amazon recently entered the digital textbook rental game. We caught up with CEO Alan Martin to discuss how this space is evolving.

EBN: How does Amazon’s entry into the space change digital textbook rentals?

AM: It’s probably too soon to tell since this is the first real swing at digital rentals, but it is definitely raising awareness of the textbook rental space. eTextbooks have always essentially been rentals since purchasers never own the textbook indefinitely. Students simply license the rights to access it for a period of time, after which, it simply goes away or is no longer accessible. Amazon just shortened that period of time to as little as 30 days, which makes it feel a bit more like a true rental. Textbooks rentals are not a perfect comp to the eBook market. There are different problems eTextbooks need to solve in order to effectively penetrate the market. Watching closely how the Kindle is adopted will help illuminate the challenges that need to be solved for eTextbooks to reach widespread adoption. Read more