One of the best ways to reduce the cost of college is to save money on textbooks. And textbooks aren’t cheap. The College Board estimates that the average student will spend $1,200 per year on textbooks! That’s not to mention the fact that prices on textbooks continue to rise. They have risen 889% over the last 30 years, outpacing inflation and even the rising cost of tuition.So what’s a student to do?The Internet has made it possible for students all over the country to rent textbooks at the start of the semester and return them the Monday after finals – all done with discounted prices in place. In this post, we’ll review a few of the most popular textbook rental websites, as well as look at the pros and cons of renting textbooks.** If you’re looking to buy your textbooks, check out our list of the best places to buy college textbooks online.
There are a few main reasons to rent textbooks. Here’s why it makes sense:Price: Renting textbooks is always cheaper than buying textbooks. In most cases, renting college textbooks is also usually cheaper than buying and then reselling your used book. Sometimes students will get lucky and be able to resell their textbook for a good price, but that typically doesn’t happen with every book, every semester.Convenience: Renting is a convenient and an easy way to get your textbooks before the semester starts. You can get the exact book you’re looking for, as well as the corresponding prices and the duration of the rental period. This beats walking from one bookstore to the next hunting down the best deals. You can count on the Internet to help you do the dirty work of locating exactly what you need in a convenient manner.There are a couple of things to consider before you start renting textbooks.Consider Your Learning StyleRenting textbooks may work for some people, but not so much for others, because of the different ways we take in information. If you are the type of student who needs to refer to a textbook to confirm a principle or theory a few semesters down the line, you may want to opt for purchasing instead of buying the textbook.Consider The Long Term Course RequirementsIn some cases, you may only need a textbook for a semester. Some courses, however, may need you to have the textbooks for multiple semesters. In this case, you should think of buying the textbook. If you’re not sure, speak to your current lecturer to find out if this will be the case before shelling out a couple hundred dollars on a textbook.Read The Fine Once you’ve identified the book you’re looking to rent, as well as the various retailers that offer it, you may want to take a look at their respective shipping fees. On top of that, check if there’s a late fee should you forget to send back the textbook within the agreed time, and damage and loss fees, if any. Realistically, you should add up these costs before hitting the checkout button so you have a realistic picture of the price should anything happen to the book.Look For Value-Added ServicesYou may want to choose textbook rental sites which provide you with some kind of guarantee or insurance. For example, a good textbook rental site should give you the option of replacing your book if it got delivered to you in a poor condition or if it’s missing some pages. These sites should also provide you with access to accompanying CD-ROMs as well as access to extra study material for free or a negligible fee.
Now that you know what we’re looking for in textbook rental sites, let’s look at the major companies and break down which is the best.We compared the following companies:
Here’s a breakdown of our full reviews and a look at the other sites we compared.
Is renting textbooks really a good idea? The holistic answer would be a resounding yes, as long as you pick the right service.