The Secret Behind Cutting College Textbook Costs

When it comes to planning for college, the first thing people worry about is the costs. In addition to rising tuition, students have to worry about other expenses like lodging, meal plans, and school supplies. If there are opportunities to save some cash, you might as well take advantage of them.

One of the most frustrating college expenses is textbooks. You’ll need to have multiple books for a variety of courses, and this can end up costing you hundreds of dollars. Fortunately, there are effective ways to cut college textbook costs.

Ready to learn how to reduce college textbook costs? Let’s get started.

Why Are College Textbooks So Expensive?

Before we break down how to save money on textbooks, it’s good to understand why they cost so much in the first place. The cost of textbooks increased by 88% from 2006 to 2016. This is caused by the bundling of books with expensive software and the recurrent printing of new editions.

The college textbook industry is largely dominated by five companies that control most of the market, which also explains the overly priced books. The good news is that there is increasing demand for affordable textbook formats and alternative ways to avoid overpaying. 

Buy Used

One of the best ways to find lower college textbook prices is to purchase used books. Unless you need a rare book or the most recent edition, you can pretty much always get away with a secondhand copy.

Used textbooks are easy to find. There should be options at your school’s bookstore, but you can also look online at websites that specialize in selling college textbooks.

Be sure to pay attention to the condition of a book. There are used books that include a lot of underlining, highlighting, and notes scribbled in the margins. If this is distracting to you, look for a used book that is as clean as possible. 

You should also talk to your professor and see if you need the bonus material that comes with new books. Secondhand textbooks don’t come with the one-time access codes that might be necessary for your course. 

Get the Digital Copy

If you want to get your textbook for a lower price tag than print copies, then look at digital textbooks, also known as e-books. This option tends to have a lower price tag than its physical counterpart. Anyone with a Kindle or e-reader can get a better deal on the digital version than the print copy.

There are instances of people finding the e-book version for free. Almost any text that is public domain can be downloaded for free. 

You’ll love being able to highlight sections of the book and take notes without worrying about obscuring the text. You can also easily navigate to your notes easily; no more flipping through pages.

Rent Textbooks

Your best bet for finding affordable college textbooks is by renting. After all, you’re not likely to continue to use a textbook once you finish the course. You only need the materials during class, so there’s no reason to spend extra money buying the book. 

The better option is to rent your textbooks. There are plenty of stores that sell textbooks to students, and some have also created a rental system. There are also plenty of websites that both sell used textbooks and also offer textbook rentals.

Be sure to do the math before making the decision to rent instead of buy. You might discover that renting ends up costing as much as buying the used version. You should also check how long the rental term is, in case it isn’t the full length of the semester. 

Share Textbooks

Although this may be a little complicated to execute, you can save 50% of the cost of a textbook. All you need to do is find another student in the same course as you that doesn’t have it at the same time. Ideally, both students are taking the course during different semesters. 

After all, you don’t want to schedule everything around this textbook. It’s better if one student takes the course first and the other schedules the course for the following semester.

Get the Older Version of Texts

Publishers tend to release new editions every few years, but the newest version can be more expensive than the previous. Although the newest textbooks are recommended for the course, there are likely no major revisions. 

Professors know if the content in the new textbooks varies dramatically from the previous, so be sure to ask before making any purchases. You’ll also need to make sure that an older edition won’t cause confusion due to the different page numbers. 

Use the Library

Your local or campus library might have all of the books you need for free. 

Students that need to read literature like novels and plays are at an advantage here, but there are plenty of libraries that offer copies of the most popular textbooks.

If you plan to use the library to score some free textbooks for the semester, you’ll need to be smart about it. Be sure to read the syllabus as early as possible and place holds on the books you want to borrow. There’s a high chance that other students have the same plan as you, and there are only so many library copies of that textbook.

Cut Your College Textbook Costs

Remember that even if you manage to get as many books from rental websites or the library, there’s still a chance that you’ll need to buy at least one or two books. Fortunately, you can recoup some of those college textbook costs by selling them at the end of the term. 

Avoid buying books from your campus bookstore and try to avoid selling them back to the school store. It’s better to sell privately or through a trusted reseller. 

Getting ready for classes and need to rent some textbooks? Be sure to use Textbook Rentals to find what you need and save some extra cash. 

7 Tips for Scoring a Cheap College Textbook

It’s no secret that college textbooks are expensive, and that doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon. With all of the other higher education expenses to worry about, spending an unnecessary amount on books that you may not use much can be frustrating. Fortunately, there are many ways to find a cheap college textbook and save money.

This guide will explore how you can avoid paying full price for a college textbook so you can focus your attention on what matters most: your education. 

Ready to learn more? Let’s get started. 

1. Avoid the Bookstore

Going to your college’s bookstore is unavoidable; that’s where you get all of your apparel to showcase school pride, after all. It can be tempting to get all your material from the bookstore, especially since it’s all right there. The reality is that this is the last place you should go to for textbooks. 

Even used textbooks at the bookstore tend to be sold at a higher price than what you’ll find online. The new textbooks tend to be more expensive than anywhere else. 

The only exception to this rule is that sometimes professors create custom-printed packets. These are usually only available at the bookstore, so you don’t necessarily have an alternative to that.

2. Try the Library 

Although you’re not going to find an extensive collection of textbooks at the library, you’re sure to find copies of many texts used in liberal arts courses. English majors and the like are at an advantage because many literature classes are built around classics that are easy to rent from the library.

The downside to finding textbooks at the library is that there is often little availability. If your classmates are also looking to save some money, you might not find a copy when you need it. Look at the syllabus ahead of time and reserve copies of the books you need at least two weeks ahead of time.

3. Buy Used When Possible

It should come as no surprise that many students will choose courses based on textbook costs, and they’ll often avoid buying the materials when they can. One of the best ways to find cheap textbooks is to find used books. This is a vast market since many students buy these books for a single semester.

Finding multiple used bookstores near any major college campus shouldn’t be challenging. You can also find used textbooks online from bookselling websites. With all of the different options for finding college textbooks for cheap, new books are only worth the investment in limited circumstances.

4. Rent Instead of Buy

One of the best ways to save money on textbooks is to rent instead of buy. Textbook rental services are more popular than ever, and they’re a great option to save on overall costs. You can also rent e-book versions of your textbooks which are more affordable since it’s a short-term license. 

If you decide to rent physical textbooks, you’ll need to make sure you take good care of them. Any rented textbook returned in poor condition will result in paying extra fees.

Remember that when you’re renting a textbook, you can’t sell the book back. The one big benefit of buying new or used textbooks is recouping some of the cost after you aced the final exam.

5. Wait Until After the First Class to Buy

There are plenty of college professors who are as frustrated about textbook costs as their students. Many academic departments tend to pressure professors into selecting the more costly options for their courses. The good news is that professors are willing to work with students who can’t afford expensive material. 

The expense may be unavoidable in some classes, but professors will inform you that they will use only a couple of sections of the textbook over the course. Sometimes they’ll offer options that are free or affordable.

Not bringing books to class on the first day may feel like a risk, but you’ll see that it’s often not a big deal. The first day usually involves discussing course expectations and the syllabus. 

6. Go Electronic

If you buy a slim e-reader, you have the option of getting your textbooks in e-book format. They’re a cheaper option that works for a lot of students. As more publishers embrace this option, you’ll find that it’s a better alternative than hauling loads of heavy textbooks around all day.

E-books may not be for you if you prefer to highlight in the book itself or like to take notes on the margins. With that said, many books can be digitally highlighted and bookmarked, so it’s all about preference.

7. Split With a Friend

You’ll need to make sure the schedule works out so you can each have access to it for studying or going to class, but if you’re taking the same introductory course on different days, sharing is a great option. Find a friend taking the same class at different times than you and split the costs of a used book. Although this isn’t the ideal option, it could save you money if its timing works out. 

Scoring a Cheap College Textbook

As wonderful as it is to further your education, the rising college costs can cause a lot of financial anxiety. Plenty of students look for ways to save some extra cash, and one of the best ways is knowing how to save money on textbooks. College textbooks can cost hundreds of dollars, and you might require several for each class; those costs can add up. 

Use these tips to learn how to get a cheap college textbook; you’re sure to save a good amount of money you can put away for next semester’s tuition.

Ready to find some college textbook savings? Be sure to browse Textbook Rentals to find what you need. 

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.

Why Textbook Rental Is the Smart Way to Get Your Degree

textbook rental

Each year, we see the average cost of textbooks and other necessary supplies rise by a significant degree. Recent data found that full-time undergraduates are spending around $1240 per year on textbooks and supplies in 2021.

For many students, these rising costs are making college inaccessible. While scholarships and loans can ease the present-day burden, they don’t always take enough of the edge off.

Textbook rental is an often-overlooked option that students can take advantage of. By renting college textbooks, you can save a good bit of money over the course of your college education.

Why is textbook rental the smart and cost-effective way to get your degree? Read on to find out.

Textbook Rental Is Cheaper

The number one reason that we suggest textbook rental whenever possible is that renting is cheaper than buying. While the actual difference in cost may vary, it’s always a guarantee that renting is cheaper. Why?

A cheaper price tag on a rental textbook is built right into the business model. If you had to pay the same price for a rental as you did to purchase a textbook, you would never rent a textbook. It’s as simple as that!

Textbook Rental Gives You Access to New Editions

Did you know that many textbook publishers are in the habit of releasing a new edition every three to four years? While it may seem easy enough to continue using the previous addition when your syllabus calls for the new release, things can get complicated.

Unfortunately for students, new editions may not include a ton of new information, but they almost always involve reorganization. That means that if your professor asks you to read pages 40-60 in a new addition and you have an old edition, you would likely end up reading the wrong content. 

What does this have to do with textbook rentals? It’s often possible to find rental options for the latest editions of popular textbooks. By renting your textbooks, you don’t run the risk of overpaying for a book you’ll have to replace next semester or next year.

You Can Extend Most Rentals at a Low Cost

When you rent a textbook, you essentially sign an agreement to send the book back at a certain time. Most rental textbook distributors offer agreements ranging from 30 to 125+ days. 

Some students worry that they may need their rental textbooks after their rental period ends. For example, what if you suddenly realize that you need a textbook for another week or two to get through your finals? Most of the time, this is not a problem.

You can often extend your rental by a few weeks at a low cost. That means that renting college textbooks isn’t just cheaper–it’s also flexible.

Selling Used Textbooks Isn’t Always Lucrative

Whether you’re buying new or used textbooks, you’ll often hear the same thing: you can make money back by selling those textbooks once you’re done with them. The question is, how much can you make?

Keep in mind that anyone who is selling used textbooks will need to sell those books at a lowered cost. They also want to turn a profit. That means that oftentimes, you’ll only make back 50-60% of what you originally spent–at most.

Then, there’s the issue of all these new additions. Because professors tend to require the latest editions, which are coming out at a rapid rate, used textbooks can depreciate in value pretty quickly. Used booksellers know this and will offer you pretty low payment–possibly as little as 10% of what you paid–for editions that are no longer widely used.

When Should You Splurge and Buy a Textbook?

Are there ever times when textbook rentals may not work out? It’s rare, but it can happen. Knowing when to buy a textbook is the best way to make the most of your textbook rental savings, so let’s take a look at some of the signs that buying may be the better option:

  • You’ll need the same textbook for multiple semesters: if a new edition of a textbook just came out (or it rarely updates) and you know you’ll need it for several classes, it may be worth it to buy the book
  • You can’t find a rental for the right edition: sometimes, brand new textbooks aren’t available for rent right away, and you may have to buy a copy
  • You need the textbook access code: some new textbooks come with access codes that can only be used by one person, which means that rentals typically won’t come equipped with them

Make sure you do a bit of digging before committing to buying a new textbook. For example, talk to your professor and verify that they want you to use the access code. If they aren’t going to ask you to use it, then renting is still a viable option.

How to Get the Best Textbook Rental Prices

There are a lot of distributors out there who are offering college textbook rentals. The rental prices and agreements can vary, and it’s ideal to get the best deal whenever you can. Is there an easy way to price-compare rental textbooks?

We’re here to help. We’ve compiled an easy-to-use database of all available textbook rentals from popular textbook rental sites. All you need to do is enter the title, author, or ISBN of the textbooks you need this semester. Then, you’ll see as many listings as we could find all in one place, allowing you to find the best price without going to dozens of different websites.

Save Money in College With College Textbook Rental

The costs associated with college are always on the rise, including the cost of textbooks. Textbook rental is a great way for college students to save money every year, and we’re here to make textbook rental even easier. Bookmark and use our database every time you need a new textbook rental.

You can also visit our partner website to find cheap ebooks. As always, our goal is to make college more accessible for all students!

How to Choose Between Renting and Buying Textbooks

buying textbooks

The average college textbook prices have risen more than 1000 times during the last four to five decades. The amount of financial burden on top of the college students’ educational fees every term is often too much to bear.

According to a recent survey, an average undergraduate student spent around $1240 on buying textbooks and supplies in the 2020-21 academic year. That’s a lot. However, these textbooks are a pertinent part of learning, and students cannot sustain themselves without them. 

If you are wondering if there is an alternative to spending thousands of dollars on buying textbooks every year, you may find renting textbooks quite a convenient option. Continue reading to get an insight into the two options and find out if renting or buying textbooks suits your needs.

Renting vs. Buying Textbooks – Pros and Cons

Whether you have just joined a college or are a seasoned student, you may be faced with the choice between buying and renting. The decision, however, must be made by taking multiple factors into account. In this section, we will highlight the pros and cons of both, which may assist you in making a decision.

The Perks of Buying Textbooks

Buying textbooks may be expensive. However, it does have a few benefits. Let’s have a look:

  • If there is an essential textbook that you can use throughout your academic years, it is perhaps wiser to buy it to continue to use it as reference material. 

    For instance, if you are a business student, you may find basic management or marketing books very useful for refreshing simple concepts, even during the advanced years of your degree and later on in your career. 
  • When you own a textbook, you do not have to worry too much about writing on it or highlighting the important points for future reference.
  • There are a few places from where you can buy used textbooks. Price comparisons will show that they will not cost you as much as a brand new book and help you save money.
  • When you finish with the textbook, you can sell it and earn some money as well.

The Cons of Buying Textbooks

  • When you buy a textbook, you pay for the book content and the research, the making of the book, and its publishing. Therefore, buying textbooks comes with quite a hefty price and may set you back by a considerable margin.
  • Selling is not everyone’s cup of tea. While you always have the option of selling the textbook when you no longer need it, you may find the selling process quite a hassle and time-consuming. Therefore, if you are not up to selling, you may find renting a better option.
  • Even if you sell the books, you may be surprised at the amount you get in comparison to the price at which you bought it in the first place. Reselling the book may not always be very lucrative.
  • If you can’t sell it, you will have to store it. As a college student, you may already be falling short of space. Stacking up used textbooks in an already limited space may prove to be quite a challenge.

The Pros of Renting Textbooks

  • In comparison to buying, renting textbooks is a much cheaper option;  You can just rent the book for a small price and limited duration.
  • Renting textbooks is space efficient as you can return the book once you’re done and don’t have to store it for more extended periods. Your tiny dorm room will thank you later.
  • Renting textbooks is quite convenient. Whether it is a hardcover or an e-book, you can find it easily in most instances and rent it for the required duration.
  • Book rental sites usually stock the latest edition of textbooks which is particularly important courses that are modified and updated over time to incorporate new concepts. When you rent such textbooks, you will probably get the latest edition of the respective book.

The Cons of Renting Textbooks

  • When you rent a book, you have to safeguard it and keep it intact so that you can return it safely in the same condition. If you fail to do so or do not meet the deadline for returning the book, you may have to pay a fine or even pay the total price if the textbook gets lost.
  • The book is not yours to keep, and you cannot use it the way you would use your own book. Therefore, even if you want to scribble or highlight important points during a lecture or study session, you cannot do that.
  • Even if you find the book useful, you cannot keep it for longer than specified.If the book is a limited edition or is not readily available, you may not be able to buy your own later down the track.

Buying vs. Renting – How to Decide

As we can see, both the options have their pros and cons, and you can choose according to your circumstances.

When to Buy

While money is an important consideration when it comes to buying textbooks, it is not the only factor. 

Some textbooks come with additional resources like course CDs etc., and you may not have any other option but to buy the book.

Moreover, if the textbook is important and you know that you will be using it for a long time as reference material, buying it seems to be a better idea. In such an instance, try looking for a used version of the book as the price will be lower. 

You can also buy it with a peer or a friend on a shared basis to split the cost.

When to Rent

Renting textbooks is quite a budget-friendly option in comparison to buying them. You cannot only save quite a lot of money by renting instead of buying, but you can also save up your storage space. 

Nowadays, you have the option of renting physical copies as well as eBooks of the latest versions of textbooks which take up no space at all and are easily available. You can easily find various renting options online as well as on some campus facilities.

Where to Rent From

If you’ve decided buying textbooks isn’t for you and that renting is your best option, head over to our list of available textbooks to check we have your required reading for this semester. Or, Check out our other articles if you want more details about college life.