Setting Rental Prices for Ebooks

As the academic and educational ebook market matures, vendors are starting to offer customers more options for ways they can purchase their textbooks in digital formats. VitalSource has added ebook rentals, which enable students to purchase access to a textbook or other materials for the duration of a semester. Rentals are usually offered at a percentage of the list price (for instance, 60% of the list price for a 180-day rental).

You can enter rental pricing and duration into your metadata using either ONIX or the CoreSource metadata template.


Rental prices can only be set in ONIX 3.0, the 2.1 deprecated standard does not include the Price Condition tags necessary for rental pricing.  The Price Condition composite resides within the <Price> composite.

Here’s an example of how to format the <PriceCondition> composite in order to set a price of $29.99 USD for a 180-day rental:

Sample price condition composite

You can also use ONIX to set a price that is a percentage of your regular list price (for instance, 60% of the list price for a 180-day rental).

At present, VitalSource is the only distribution partner set to receive rental price durations from CoreSource.

CoreSource Metadata Template:

You can also set rental pricing using the CoreSource Excel template. The Price Business Model Flag must be set as Rental, and the rental duration is set in number of days.

Sample of CoreSource metadata template rental pricing

For VitalSource, we can also set a standard discount for a specific time period at the account level (for instance, a 40% discount off list price for 180 day rentals for all titles). For further information about setting rental price durations in your metadata or at the account level for VitalSource, please contact our Manager of Technology.


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