A Beginner’s Guide to College Textbook Rental

college textbook rental

Depending on who you ask, college students are spending anywhere between $415 and $1240 on required course materials like textbooks each academic year. Why do college textbooks tend to cost so much? One of the biggest culprits of these high costs is the high publication rate of new editions. Even if the same basic book is being used year after year, a new edition likely came out recently that you’ll need to use–and that might cost a fortune. College textbook rental is the most practical approach to keeping textbook costs low.

The question is, how do you find cheap textbook rentals for college? What procedures should you follow once you’re using a rental textbook? We’re here to answer all of the questions you may have about textbook rental as you enter into higher education. Read on to find out everything you need to know.

Step 1: Go Through Your Syllabi and Get ISBN Numbers for Your Textbooks

One mistake that’s easy to make as a first-year student is searching for your textbooks by author or title, alone. Instead, you want to search for your textbooks using the ISBN number that your professors provide in their syllabi. (If they don’t include an ISBN number, you can assume that a specific edition isn’t required–but this is rare.)

Why does it matter? Remember how we were talking about all those different editions of the same book? Most of the time, the changes from one edition to the other aren’t that substantial, but there’s a glaring issue here.

One of the ways that textbook publishers keep you coming back for new editions is by totally reorganizing their books. That means that when you go to do the assigned reading in an old edition, you’re going to have trouble. 

Make sure you get the right edition by searching for your books by ISBN number.

Step 2: Use Our Database to Find College Textbook Rental Options

Now, it’s time to figure out where to rent your textbooks! There are tons of different textbook rental websites out there and strangely enough, they tend to offer different prices for the same books. 

That’s why we came up with our college textbook rental database. You can search by title, author, and subject (in addition, of course, to ISBN number) to find just about every textbook in use today. Then, you can easily price compare your options, look at different rental agreements, and find the best textbook rentals for your needs. 

(Looking for cheap ebook options? Take a look at our new ebook price comparison tool to find the best prices on the latest ebooks.)

Step 3: Use Your College Textbook Rentals With Care

Of course, the biggest difference between buying and renting your textbooks is that after a certain period of time, you have to send the rental back. With that being said, there is also a difference in how you can handle a textbook if you’ve rented it, rather than buying it.

Ultimately, the goal is to make sure that your rental textbook remains in good condition for the next student to use it. Most rental textbook websites outline specific parameters and expectations. However, they tend to follow along the same lines.

Do your best to keep your rental textbooks damage-free. That means avoiding water damage, coffee spills, torn pages, and severely cracked or broken spines. We know that these types of damage aren’t always in your control, so it is truly a do-your-best situation.

When you’re using your rental textbooks, keep highlighting and underlining to a minimum. Most rental textbook websites don’t allow note-taking in the margins, so you’ll want to have your computer or a notebook and pen on hand when you do your assigned readings. We also recommend keeping some small sticky notes or tabs around so that you can mark important pages without writing in the book or dog-earring the page. 

Step 4: Extend Your College Textbook Rentals If You Need To

Most college textbook rentals come in increments of 30, 90, or 160 days. However, this doesn’t always line up with how long you’ll actually need your books.

Maybe you placed your order without taking finals week into account. Maybe you realize that you need that same book next semester for another class.

No matter your reason, most websites will allow you to extend your college textbook rental if necessary. It will come with a fee and it’s important to extend your rental before the due date.

Step 5: Return Your College Textbook Rentals

What happens when your rental period is up? It’s time to return your college textbook rentals!

Since almost all textbook rental companies operate online nowadays, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to drop them off in person. Instead, you’ll need to mail them back.

We always recommend hanging onto the packaging your textbooks came in. That way, you have the perfect packaging to use to send them back. If you lost track of that packaging, don’t sweat it–find a box or parcel that fits your books nicely and you’re good to go.

Next, print out the prepaid postage slip provided by the rental company. Tape it to the package so that it’s easy to read and scan. You may also need to print other documents to place inside of the package as specified by the company.

Once your package is ready to go, head to the student mailing center (or another appropriate mailing facility) to get it in the mail.

Save Money on Textbooks With Cheap Textbook Rentals for College

College textbook rental is an important part of saving money as a college student. Why overpay for the latest editions for all of your textbooks when you can rent them at a reduced cost?

Looking for more ways to save money as a college student? Take a look at our blog for tips, tricks, and money-saving guides.


9 Reasons Why Renting Law Textbooks Makes Perfect Sense

law textbooks

The average cost of a law degree was $130,000 in 2020. And this number only includes tuition and fees. 

On top of this already astronomical amount, you’ll need to spend thousands of dollars on the textbooks you need for law school. 

But what if you didn’t have to spend so much on textbooks? What if you could rent them instead?

In this guide, we’ll explain why renting law textbooks is a great option for you. If you’re ready to save money on textbooks, keep reading.

1. There’s Less Hassle

While you may be able to earn some money by buying used books and then reselling them later, a sale isn’t guaranteed. You also have to go through the effort of creating a sales listing, finding a buyer, and then meeting up with them to sell the book.

When you rent, there’s far less hassle involved. You don’t have to worry about your textbook’s price falling because a new edition was released. Instead, you just pay your rental fee and return the book by the return date. 

2. Renting Saves You Money

Law textbook rental can and does save you money in the long run as long as you carefully research and compare your options.

Make sure to compare the prices of textbook rentals as well as which books are the best to rent. Some books might only save you 20 dollars on a rental, while some rentals can save you more than half of the book’s list price.

For example, this student was able to save several hundred dollars on her first semester of law school textbooks by renting. 

3. Casebooks Go Out of Date

When you’re in law school, you’ll be given both textbooks and casebooks. Textbooks are where you learn the concepts and information, and casebooks are a selection of relevant cases to the subject matter at hand.

But since cases come and go and laws change, casebooks can also go out of date easily. This is why there’s not much sense in buying them, especially if the casebook isn’t in your practice area.

If you make sure you take good notes on the cases in your casebook, then you probably won’t need to have the book lying around for reference. 

4. You Won’t Accumulate What You Don’t Need

Every law student is excited for the whirlwind that is finals, graduation, and your new articling position. However, when you finally find some time to sell your old books, you find that they’ve gone out of date.

Not only are old textbooks fairly useless to sell, but they also won’t be of any use to you at home either. You always need to stay up-to-date with the law, so having a pile of textbooks you’re not using just takes up unnecessary space.

Plus, the law firm you will work at likely has its own library of up-to-date books and professional subscriptions, which should have all you need for work.

5. Rentals Are Delivered Quickly

Many students naturally become stressed when they try to order their textbooks online, as the seller might need time to re-stock and get the shipment ready. This is even worse with used books, as stock is limited.

Luckily, textbook rental companies understand that students need their books delivered quickly. They may even have a rush shipping option if you need it, so be sure to ask them and check if there is any extra cost for this option.

6. Rentals Have Free Return Shipping

One of the best things about textbook rentals is that they often have free return shipping. You can either go to the place you rented the textbook from (useful if the return date is really soon) or ship the book back.

You’ll most likely get a shipping label to print. Once you’ve packaged the book up securely, then attach the shipping label and head to your post office.

Shipping the book back saves you a lot of time, especially if the rental company or bookstore is far from where you live.

7. Renting Makes You Read Your Law Textbooks

You may not have considered the fact that having a time limit on your textbooks will actually force you to read them. When you’ve bought a textbook, chances are you won’t feel any sense of urgency in reading them.

You’d likely read only what was required for your class, and then let the textbook collect dust on your shelf. 

But when you rent a textbook, you have a set time limit on when you need to return the book. This will force you to read the book and get as much useful information out of it as you can before the return date rolls around.

8. Renting Is Flexible 

Another benefit of going through a textbook rental company is that they are often flexible. They allow you to rent textbooks for specified periods of time, such as 30-90 days.

This means you don’t have to rent a textbook for an entire semester. 

For example, you may only need a certain textbook for a final exam. Instead of spending more money and renting the book for four months, you may only need to rent it for 30 days or less, which can save you a lot of money.

9. E-Books Are Cheaper and Take Up Less Space

Studying law means that you will often be pressed for time, and e-books are an excellent way to study while on the go. You can rent several e-books and read them all on one device without any extra weight in your backpack.

Of course, not all law textbooks will be available in e-book format, so make sure to check with the bookstore or rental company.

Also, figure out whether having a physical or digital copy of the book would best help you study for that particular subject.

Ready To Save Money by Renting Textbooks?

Law school can leave you with student loan debt for years. 

By renting your law school textbooks, you can potentially save thousands of dollars. You could apply this much-needed money towards your tuition, fees, and living expenses. 

If you’re ready to save money and rent your law textbooks, check out our handy price comparison tool. Use it to compare textbook rental companies and figure out the best rental prices for each of your required textbooks.