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!