What Are the Benefits of Renting a Textbook?

renting a textbook

As of 2020, the average college student spent over $1200 annually on textbooks. Students taking Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) programs spent even much more. Considering that students must still pay other fees, the cost of a college education can seem truly astronomical. 

The good news is that there are ways to cut costs on textbooks. In fact, one of the top college tips and tricks at the moment is to opt for a textbook rental service, instead of purchasing the books. 

In today’s post, we outline eight major ways renting a textbook can make your college life easier. Keep reading to learn more.

Renting a Textbook Is Much Cheaper

Arguably the top reason students choose textbook rentals is the low costs involved. Generally, a textbook rental costs a small fraction of the book’s list price. 

You can even save much more by comparing the textbook rental services in your area and choosing the one with the friendliest price. It’s a smart way to keep your college piggy bank full.

There’s a Lot of Flexibility

Student textbook rentals go out of their way to fit into your schedule. They’re flexible when it comes to the period of time you can rent the textbook. Most offer short-term, quarter, and semester rental options.

Thus, if you’re only considering an eight-week course, you don’t need to rent a textbook for the entire semester. You can go for short-term textbook rental and save money. And if you need to keep the book for longer than you’d previously thought, you can always extend your rental.

You Actually Get to Read the Book

Another benefit of renting a textbook is that you have a time limit during which to read the book. This time limit can actually force you to read the textbook. 

When you’ve purchased the book, it’s likely you won’t feel any urgency to read it. After you’ve read only the section you needed for your class, chances are you’ll let the textbook sit on the shelf collecting dust.

Renting a textbook forces you to read as much as you can before the return date arrives.

You Get to Save Space

As soon as the semester is over, chances are you won’t need those textbooks ever again. This is especially the case with general education courses that everyone takes. 

Purchasing textbooks means you’ll have piles of textbooks in your apartment that you no longer need. But when you rent these textbooks, you’ll return them as soon as you’ve finished using them. 

Returning Rental Textbooks Is Simple

Another thing you’re going to love about renting textbooks is that at the end of the rental period, returning them is simple. As soon as the due date approaches, most top textbook rental sites usually send a notification to remind you. 

Once the return date has arrived, you only need to print your pre-paid shipping label and drop the textbooks off at your nearest UPS Store. Most rental sites allow you to use the same box in which you received the book. 

As soon as the book reaches the rental service from which you rented it, you get a notification. It’s that easy.

You Get to Enjoy Free Shipping

Textbook rentals typically have free return shipping. Clients usually receive a shipping label along with the textbook that they can print. 

After you’ve finished using the textbook, all you need is to package it securely and attach the shipping label. You can then drop the book at the post office and the post office takes care of the rest.

You Don’t Need to Stress About Reselling Books

A big challenge with purchasing textbooks is that you don’t always know what to do with them once you’ve finished using them. Of course, you can still opt to resell them, but that’s easier said than done. Writing books listings, finding buyers, and meeting with them can be a hassle.

Besides, most buyers will only give you a tiny fraction of what you originally spent buying the book. That means making huge losses on the books you purchased.

When you choose to rent textbooks, you don’t need to worry about the entire hassle of reselling the book. Moreover, you don’t need to worry about ridiculous buyback prices.  

You Can Always Get the Latest Editions

Textbooks and casebooks are always being revised. A textbook or casebook you bought recently may go out of date, which makes it hardly useful and thus unsellable. That’s why it makes more sense to consider renting textbooks instead.

But that’s not all. The latest edition of a textbook may be quite pricey. By renting the textbook, you don’t need to worry about spending that much money on the book you need. 

You Can Access Rental Digital Books

Another huge benefit of opting for textbook rentals is that most online rental services stock a multitude of digital books. This way, it’s easy for clients to borrow and return books without having to visit the physical store. And when you borrow a digital textbook, there are zero shipping charges, which makes this option even more affordable. 

An added advantage of digital books is that you can fit many of them in your e-reader, which increases portability.

Reap the Benefits of Renting Your College Textbooks

Renting a textbook is the best way to reduce your textbook costs without negatively impacting your college experience.

It also takes the hassle of having to sell textbooks back at the end of the semester, besides affording you a ton of other benefits. It’s no wonder so many students are taking advantage of this route when it comes to accessing the books they need.

Are you interested in affordable textbook rental services? Please, check out our price comparison tool here.

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.