How Much Money Can You Save by Renting College Textbooks?

Going to college presents an excellent opportunity for adults of any and all ages to earn a degree in their field of choice, which in the end allows them to work their dream career. 

With that being said, many obstacles remain in the way of people getting their desired degree. One of these obstacles is debt, which has been shown to affect over 40 million students in the U.S. A big contributor to student debt is the ever-increasing price of college textbooks — some of which are crucial to the success of students. 

That’s where renting college textbooks comes in handy. Renting is an alternative to buying, which is often the cheaper and easier option. But how much money can you really save by renting instead of buying?

Keep reading to find out!

The Case With Buying Textbooks

The standard practice in America for obtaining college textbooks is purchasing them from either the university library or a third-party seller such as a bookstore. Buying is great for numerous reasons, the most obvious one being that you get your own private copy of an important piece of text which you can mark and highlight all you want.

On the other hand, it’s often one of the most dreaded processes of starting a new semester. Many students often find themselves scrambling left and right all across the internet and through catalogs trying to find alternative ways of obtaining these important textbooks. Why is that?

Well, because of the price. Depending on what course the textbook is used for, how big the book is, and how long ago it was published, book prices can vary greatly. For reference, the cost of an anatomy and physiology textbook can be anywhere from $90-300. 

When it comes to taking multiple classes, these prices stack up extremely fast. Students might even be surprised that the cost of their textbooks can rival the cost of the tuition for one or two classes. 


If you have the money for it or are supported by financial aid (some grants cover textbooks too), buying books is definitely the recommended option. Here are some pros to buying textbooks.

  • You can keep your copy for as long as you like, it’s yours!
  • Mark anywhere and everywhere in it
  • Sell it to other students
  • Take it with you anywhere
  • Fresh information

Most textbooks these days even allow students to purchase brand new copies in multiple formats. These formats include paperback, hardcover, audiobook, ebook, pdf, and loose-leaf versions. 


But of course, buying textbooks isn’t always the best option. Here are some reasons why people avoid buying their textbooks.

  • The cost is way too high
  • Some professors use less than half the actual material in the book
  • They can get an older version for much cheaper

Cost is obviously the biggest reason here. Though, there is also another problem with buying new textbooks rather than renting.

You see, sometimes textbooks that run on the pricey side are very niche and can only be used for one class. Imagine spending over $200 for a textbook that you’ll only use for one semester, never touching it again in your life?

Of course, there’s the option of selling or giving it to someone else, but an already purchased textbook will have its price cut down by nearly half if it’s not brand new. 

Renting College Textbooks: Does It Really Save Money?

We’ll answer this question in one simple answer: Yes!

Renting textbooks can save a substantial amount of money, depending again on the factors described above. Even then, though, most textbook rentals will come at only a fraction of the cost of the actual purchase price. 

This happens for obvious reasons. Because of the way that the education system is set up in our current society, brand new textbooks are often preferred over older versions.

You’ll see many professors place on the class syllabus that a new version of the text is recommended. Here’s a tip: Look at how the syllabus is worded. Oftentimes recommended simply means that the textbook isn’t 100% required.

Another tip is that, unless specificallyoutlined by your instructor, it’s not always necessary to buy the newest copy of the class text. Most updated textbooks only include corrected grammar, some new info here and there, and rearranged chapters. Take some time to compare textbooks before buying one — it’ll save you much more down the line.

Back to the topic at hand, renting textbooks is an extremely beneficial thing to do. We’ve already discussed the most obvious reason, in that renting is much cheaper. Though, there are some other benefits:

  • You can take advantage of free shipping
  • Some rental places offer free tutoring and other materials when renting
  • Rentals might have important markings made by previous students
  • On that note, you can mark in some rentals without penalty
  • Gain access to the full text without the full cost

Another great thing about renting is that you don’t have to worry about selling the unused text. As mentioned, some textbooks are only viable for one class during your entire college journey. When you rent, you simply return the book without having to find someone or somewhere to sell it to.

Additional Tips on Saving Money During College

While we can go on and on about renting textbooks to save money, there’s actually so much more you can do as a college student to help your financial status.

There’s getting a part-time job, applying for scholarships and grants, contributing to a work-study program, and even going to a cheaper college. 

For the case of textbooks, you’ll probably be able to find them online without having to pay a thing. Just be careful of where you go and who you get them from.

For more money-saving college tips, please visit here.

The Perfect Place To Renting Textbooks

Here at, we believe everyone should have access to affordable college textbooks so that they can live a successful college life. That’s why we consistently update our catalog with new books as often we can, and by using your website you can even compare prices on multiple renting websites. Our variety of book titles is vast, to say the least, as we offer books in fields ranging from architecture to medical.

We invite you to take a look at our listings by using this link here. Feel free to visit our blog for more information on renting college textbooks and college life in general.