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College Text Books Rent or Buy?

Updated on June 30, 2010

Do you really save by renting college textbooks?

 Among the endeavors I have taken on lately, I have returned to college. During my previous experience in college, many years ago, I had no children or family, and mom and dad took care of  the college financing. I have had a rude awakening now that I have returned.

The cost of college text books is crazy. No not crazy, insane. Prices are so high because what option do you have? If the syllabus says you need book ISBN# x,y,z and it's $200, well you have to have it. The textbook industry does about $7-9 billion in the U.S.

The first semester back I tried to save money by buying my textbooks used and then reselling them on Amazon. Well, they all got sold but when I calculated it all out, I saved about 35% of the cost of a new book. So, for the second semester I tried something different.  I decided to go the route of renting textbooks.


Rent Textbooks

How does renting textbooks work?

 When you rent a college textbook, you select your book and select the length of thime you need it. The price is dependent on how long you need the book. Generally, if you need to rent a text book for one semester, you will save 50% of the cost of a new book. In my case, I am taking 8 week accelerated courses so I save about 75% by renting textbooks.

Some colleges are renting textbooks at the campus bookstore, although not many have jumped on the bandwagon. Most book rental stores are online. Some provide free shipping to you and all that I have seen, provide a free shipping label to send them the text book back.

When you looking for a place to rent textbooks make sure you find out whether or not they allow highlighting. Some bookstores will charge you if they get the book back with highlighting.

The cheapest place I have found to rent textbooks is shipping is free both ways and you can highlight in the books. You just can not make notes in the margins.

I have also used , the only problem I had with them is they did not have one of the books I needed in stock so I had to get it from instead. To Chegg's credit they did offer to purchase it from Amazon and have it dropped shipped to me, but I needed it right away and couldn't wait for that.


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