Renting textbooks is becoming a very popular option among students as more and more businesses are being created to fill this service. While not being much different than buying your textbook for the term and then selling it back, renting guarantees that your textbook will be returned without question and doesn't require as much cost for the student up front. This way you’re not going to be stuck with a book at the end of the term when a new version of the book comes out.
The only minor hindrance about renting textbooks from online textbook stores is the shipping of the bulky textbooks. What’s cool about most textbook renters is that they provide a pre-paid shipping envelope for you to return the textbook at the end of your rental period. Which is probably a smart move as well, as a broke college student may be reluctant to ship back a book when he or she has no money on hand.
The other main benefit here is upfront cost. Beginning a new term, you’re required to obtain textbooks, study guides, and other tools for classroom use. Because renting textbooks is cheaper, this money that would have been spent on buying new textbooks can now be used to purchase other needed classroom goods or more Top Ramen to feed starving students.
It’s always nice to see good competition going on, especially when it involves the high costs of textbooks. College textbooks have always made up a large chunk of the expenses students face every year. Perhaps students will stop going through college bookstore programs that sell the book at a high list price and offer a buy back at a fraction of the cost.
Renting textbooks is a solid business model among a pretty saturated textbook market. It seems like every week here at Campus Grotto we get an email telling us about a great new textbook marketplace/comparison site that will save students thousands.
In an effort to lower textbook costs to students, some universities are incorporating textbook rental programs as well. These programs allow students to rent a textbook for about one-third of the cost of purchasing a brand new one.
One of the more prominent textbook renters out there is Chegg. Chegg was previously a textbook seller who flirted with the idea of textbook renting. Apparently they found it as a good niche and now is used primarily as a textbook renting service. Students who rent the book do have an option of buying the book by paying the list price for the book minus the textbook rental fee they have already paid.
Of course, renting the textbook means you’ll have to take extra care of it. Chegg doesn’t allow writing in its books, but does allow limited highlighting.
If you ever decide that you need your rented textbook longer than the rental period, you can either request an extension (which may require a minimal payment) or just choose to buy the book directly so the book becomes your property. Chegg offers the option of a 15-day or 30-day rental extension. There is also an additional option to rent the textbook for a full quarter extension, or full semester extension, at 25% discount off the full rental price.
Students can save up to 65% by renting their textbooks; a big cut for one of the biggest expenses for students (outside of tuition).Resources:
For renting textbooks check out Chegg, the leader in textbook rentals.
When buying new textbooks, refer to this list.