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The High Cost of Textbooks: 5 Reasons to Use Textbook Rentals

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A college freshman faces many challenges during their college career, complete with a hefty bill. The average cost for a college degree in 2018 was $20,000 per year, including room and board. 

College textbook prices are not included in this amount but easily reach well over $1,000 per year.

While scholarships and grants are available to cover the cost of tuition, in many cases, students are on their own when it comes to acquiring books and other materials needed for classes. If there’s any place to save on your college bill, it’s worth it to save on books. 

But, how? In this article, we will explore how to use textbook rentals to save serious cash on books.

Why Do Textbooks Cost So Much?

For any college student, this question has likely come to mind. Why is there a price tag of nearly $100, $200, and even more for textbooks? Here are a few reasons why. 

  • Publishers need to make money, and they need to pay Copywrite fees to the authors
  • The content written in college-level textbooks is constantly changing, so to stay current, new editions are printed every few years
  • Professors and other faculty members often choose the course textbook and they can be pricey
  • There are more books to read per class in college than in high school

While all these reasons may or may not be relevant to your particular university, it still stands that college textbooks eat a big portion of your college budget. 

Five Smart Reasons to Use Textbook Rentals

So what happens when you cannot afford all the textbooks you need for class? Try used textbook rentals!

Used textbook rentals are when a student decides to rent a textbook for a fee for the semester, and then returns it when the class is completed. Here are five reasons why this is a perfect choice for college students. 

1. You Save Money

This is one of the biggest pros of renting textbooks. In short, renting textbooks is considerably cheaper than buying them. Many students save up to 70% on textbooks when they rent them from online sites. 

This is especially true if you only need a book for one semester and do not plan on using it for reference again. 

2. Convenient

Some students do purchase new textbooks and plan on reselling them for a small profit. Then, with the profit they’ve gained, they’ll turn around and use that money to fund more textbooks. 

With rentals, you don’t need to worry about that! Simply use the textbook (gently!) and return it when it’s due. With all of the activities you have as a college student, the last thing on your mind should be keeping a textbook in pristine condition for a buyback.

3. Try Before You Buy

For some college majors, like English majors, owning great books of literature might be worth spending the money. Or for Biology majors, perhaps they need the enormous science dictionary for reference. But, maybe it isn’t a book that’s appealing enough to sit on your shelf. 

The great thing about renting textbooks is that if you like it, you mind the financial blow if you purchase it. You’ve seen it, read it, and used it, so it’s familiar and will likely come of use during your time in college or beyond. 

4. The Process is Easy

Most textbook renting is done online. You simply type in the name of the book you need, while the website does a price comparison, making sure you get the best price. 

Be sure to check shipping and handling fees if there are any and include them in the price as well. Some websites offer free shipping and quick delivery.

5. eTextbooks

eTextbooks are becoming increasingly popular and many websites now offer those options if they’re available from the publishers. This is incredibly convenient and eliminates the need to carry excess books from class to class, or have books lying around your home, table, or car. You can avoid fees from the book being lost or damaged. 

Somethings To Consider

Renting textbooks sounds like a no-brainer, but there are a few things to keep mind.

Ask your professor if other editions are ok. Not all textbooks are current, and some material may be necessary for your classes. If the professor or instructor has no qualms about the rented edition, use it and save some money. 

You might be better off buying and then selling. Before you make any decisions, add up the complete cost of your textbooks and do a price comparison. Some websites will even give you recommendations on if you should rent, buy, or sell a particular book. 

Do you struggle with deadlines or keep library books for months until they send you a bill? If so, you might want to rethink renting textbooks. There is a due date and if the book is not returned during that time, you could face fees or other charges. 

Do you tend to misplace items or unintentionally damage them? Rented books need to be handled with care, so make sure you’re giving extra attention to the book before its due date. 

The Cost of College Textbooks: How Will You Save?

When you use textbook rentals you save money, time, and can complete your classes with ease. In college, you need to give primary focus to your studies, and less worrying about paying for textbooks. Try renting textbooks today and see how it works for you! 

Our price comparison tool is at your fingertips, ready to save you cash! Check it out today!

About the Author

Christopher Manns

I was born in the UK, grew up in Canada and have lived in the USA since the 90s. I love my family, water sports, ice hockey, skiing and soccer. When I'm not helping people save money on textbooks, I'm travelling with my wonderful family and playing sports.