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Google Play hits the books in time for fall semester

College students could save money by renting or buying digital textbooks through Google Play store.


Students often spend thousands of dollars on textbooks throughout their college years, but a new feature on Google Play may change that.

On the Android Official Blog, Google announced an additional category of higher education digital textbooks that can be rented or purchased outright.

The announcement comes at a time when technology is changing the education sector. A growing number of students are exchanging textbooks for iPads, and more courses are being offered online for free through Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) projects, including edX.

There is a wide selection of textbooks on the Google Play store, but some are still expensive and can cost up to $200 for a purchased copy. However, Google says you can save "up to 80 percent" by renting when compared to buying traditional, physical copies. If you choose to rent an e-book for half of the year, you can download a copy for a good discount -- the digital alternative to buying a secondhand copy in your campus store.

Participating publishers include Pearson, Macmillan Higher Education, and Random House.