Affordable Textbooks: Money Saving Tips for Renting Textbooks in College

affordable textbooks

In just 10 years, college tuition and fees increased by 63%, those fees include the rising prices of textbooks. If you are a current college student, you probably don’t find this statistic surprising.

Even with efforts like the Affordable College Textbook Act, most students have to spend hundreds, maybe even thousands, on textbooks alone. That’s on top of the already high tuition prices that are also rising.

Let’s face it, finding affordable textbooks is difficult. We want to make the process less stressful for you which is why we wrote this guide.

Read on to learn about money-saving tips for gaining college textbooks.

Where to Rent Textbooks

There are different platforms where you can rent affordable textbooks which is why comparing prices is always a good idea. At, we make it easy for you to compare prices for all kinds of textbooks.

For affordable college textbooks, your best options are price comparisons from Chegg and eCampus.

College students tend to spend thousands on textbooks because they shop at their school’s bookstore. Even third-party book stores amp their prices up. Because of this, renting textbooks from these places should be a last resort.

Tips on Buying Affordable Textbooks

Affordable college textbooks are hard to come by, but there are a few tips you can follow to save you major bucks. Here is our best advice on saving money.

Avoid the Bookstore Like the Plague

Yes, we’ve already touched on this, but when it comes to textbook affordability, the bookstore is your worst enemy. These stores are filled with shiny, new books that you’ll use for one semester and never need again.

Although they do offer used items, the prices are still marked high. You can usually find textbooks online for cheaper.

Wait Until After Class to Buy

We know you want to be a good student and follow the syllabus before getting into the classroom. However, when it comes to buying textbooks before class, we recommend waiting.

Some college professors are aware of the rising cost of textbooks but don’t always have a choice for which ones they require for class. However, some professors are willing to work with their students who need it most.

You may go to class with your brand new textbook just to find out that you don’t actually need it for the class, it was just a suggestion. You may also learn that your professor has extra copies for students to share.

If you do need a textbook after the first class, ask your professor for affordable recommendations if they didn’t already mention it to the students.

Unless strictly stated in your syllabus that you need to have your textbook with you on the first day of class, buying it after class is usually no biggie. If you are afraid to take that risk, email your professor beforehand to get input.

Buy Used

A used book is often the more affordable textbook option. When you can’t rent a textbook, consider the used options before buying a new one. You can resale a used or new textbook down the line.

Even though you can sell a new textbook after the semester has ended, you will never make a good enough return to make it worth it. This is mainly due to the fact that it is no longer new because you used it.

Look for eBooks

Because of the rising use of technology in colleges, publishers are starting to offer their textbooks as eBooks. This is a great option for when you don’t need a physical copy of your textbook.

An eBook can be looked at on a smartphone, tablet, or computer. Chances are, you are already taking one or more of these things to class every day.

If you are an avid highlighter and note-taker, don’t fret! Nowadays, most eBooks can be virtually bookmarked and highlighted.

Check the Library

Campus and local libraries won’t have every textbook, especially the newer ones, but checking anyway is worth a shot to save some money.

We recommend looking through the library as soon as you know what books you need. These entities may have some of the textbooks your classes require but often have limited availability.

Split Costs With a Friend

We recommend splitting costs with a friend as a last resort because working out the details can get tricky. If you and someone you know well are both taking the same class at different times, this may be a doable option.

It can definitely save on costs to split a used or rented textbook, but make sure you have access to it when you need it most. For example, if you need it during class, for help with completing assignments, or to study for an exam.


The last tip for finding affordable textbooks is a given. You should always rent when you can!

There is often no good reason to buy a new textbook that you’ll only need for a few months and then never pick up again. You can rent new textbooks, used textbooks, and even eBooks.

All you have to do is find the right supplier. That’s what we are here for!

Finding Affordable Textbooks With a Price Comparison Engine

At, we don’t sell any of the books listed. Our goal isn’t to make money, it is to help college students save wherever they can.

We know how hard it can be to find affordable textbooks. With this guide, we hope to save you as much money as possible.

We have an abundance of articles on how to save money in college, check them out on our blog. For help with finding a specific book, start browsing textbooks here!