As students file back into classes, fresh from a winter break rife with gifts, various new tablets and e-readers can be spotted all throughout Cal Poly, leaving envious students in their wake. Those jealous of fellow students sporting brand new tablets and more can quickly fix the problem though — all without breaking the bank by making the commitment of spending $350 or more on a technology that is constantly becoming outdated.
Cal Poly students may now rent out a Samsung Galaxy 2 tablet for an entire quarter for $99 from the University Store. The first electronic device made available to rent through the bookstore comes with a “buyout” option, and aims to save students money on textbooks by providing a large quantity of e-books at 60 percent off the publisher’s price, according to University Store computer department manager Preston Sirois.
“We really wanted to take away the experience of having to walk around with five books in your backpack,” Sirois said.
The $99 rental price includes a three pound 16GB tablet, a case for protection, a data sync cable and a power adapter. Additional accessories, such as a USB adapter, may also be rented through the store for about $5 to $15, and students may purchase the tablet from the bookstore at anytime throughout the rental period for $270, Cal Poly Corporation marketing and public relations manager Yukie Nishinaga said.
“Having the technology gives you access to really great discounts, along with the textbook rental program which has even more options available this quarter than we did last,” Nishinaga said.
The textbook rental program offers students a 60 percent savings off the publisher’s price and makes approximately 20 percent of textbook titles found available for sale, available for rent. The number of e-book titles made available is currently at about 5 percent of those found for sale in the bookstore, but Nishinaga predicts that number to increase as e-book use rises.
To rent a tablet students must provide their PolyCard and sign a contract with the bookstore stating the terms of agreement, which include a $10 to $30 late fee for tablets returned up to twelve days after the end of the quarter, and a $50 fee for any tablets returned with light damage.
According to Sirois, tablets returned with what is considered heavy damage, or tablets kept longer than twelve days past the due date, will result in the student having to pay $270.
“If it is damaged to the point where we can no longer rent it or sell it, then students will have to pay full price. A light scratch can probably still be used but a cracked screen cannot,” Sirois said.
The new program has limited supplies available, so those interested should come to the technology center at the University Store soon, Sirois said. He also said he hopes the program takes off so that more tablets will be made available for rent in the future.
And so far, students seem to like the idea.
“There are a lot of students who might not have many resources, like the Internet, outside of class,” architectural engineering freshman Derek Tom said of the program. “I think it’s good they have the option to buy it, students can experience it beforehand.”