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 Casebooks Go Out of Date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But since cases come and go and laws change, casebooks can also go out of date easily.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 However, when you finally find some time to sell your old books, you find that they’ve gone out of date.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.

Why Do Textbooks Cost So Much?

textbook rental

As more and more students turn to textbook rental, it bears asking: Why do textbooks cost so much?

It’s no secret that the cost of education has nothing to do with the actual cost of educating. While there are many reasons for that, today, we want to focus on explaining expensive textbooks and how they represent deeper systemic issues.

Are Textbooks Special?

Let’s first begin by addressing a valid question about textbooks. Is there something special about them that justifies their high cost?

While it’s hard to get an exact answer, Dr. Tony Bates, an author and open-textbook advocate estimates the opportunity cost to produce an open textbook sits around $81,000 to $100,000.

Keep in mind this is an estimate coming from someone without a solid pipeline to publishing. While he is an author and educator, Dr. Tony Bates does not have access to the established infrastructure of a textbook company.

The average cost of a commercialized textbook sits around 82 dollars. Many go for 100 dollars or more. Even at twice the rate, Dr. Tony Bates estimates, this means a company would only need to sell about 2000 books to break even.

If this seems like a big ask, keep in mind how much of a hold over the market most textbooks represent. It’s estimated 5 publishers control 80% of the textbook market.

In terms of the final product, textbooks aren’t special in any meaningful way compared to other quality non-fiction works. Instead, it is the companies that publish them’s unique position in the market that is special.

A Stranglehold on the Market

While the issue has gained a great deal of attention in recent years, for a long time, textbook publishers had a strong, if nefarious, market position.

Most business has a company offering a product or service. A potential customer then chooses whether to take the company up on that offer, look for an alternative, or do without.

The issue for college students and other people who need textbooks is this isn’t the equation textbook companies have to deal with. Instead, they’ve been courting educators to do the hard work for them.

When one takes a college course, they don’t decide what course materials they’ll need to buy. Their professor (or someone else in the college hierarchy) does. The bad news? The professor isn’t the one paying.

Unless a professor is aware and actively thinking about this issue, textbook publishers can charge exorbitantly high rates long as the actual text is attractive to educators. 

Moreover, there are a few enough textbook publishers that professors who are aware of the issue face an uphill battle. They still need a quality textbook for their course and may not have many affordable options.

Seeking Alternatives

For students with less money to spend, this price gouging has been a major ongoing issue for decades. Over half of students have chosen not to purchase at least one textbook due to cost.

Of course, foregoing a textbook has its own consequences. Of those who have done so, 94% felt it impacted their ability to perform in the class. Naturally, students (and many educators) have sought out alternatives.

The recent pandemic has only emphasized the issue further, with some companies raising the cost of ebooks vastly higher even than their physical offerings.

Some have turned to piracy, but that is both illegal and comes with a host of its own issues. Texts are often incomplete, providers are inherently unreliable, and many texts are difficult or impossible to find on such sites.

The good news is there is a legitimate, reliable alternative that we’ve put a great deal of time and effort into making available to as many students as possible: textbook rental.

Rental allows students to have access to a text without breaking any laws or risking any issues with the text. All you need to do is make sure you’ve selected the right book for your course, and you’re good to go.

Textbook Rental

We’ve discussed in the past the economics of renting versus buying textbooks. The short of it is that, for the majority of students, renting is by far the better option.

Once they’re done with a course, most students never touch the course’s textbook again. Even if they do, there is a potential for the material to be outdated, meaning they’d be better off reviewing newer material.

This means that most students really only need access to a textbook for, at most, a year. This is what makes renting such an excellent, cost-effective option.

For a fraction of a given textbook’s cost, you can rent a textbook from services like ours that is identical to the one you’d otherwise have to buy for a course.

At the end of your course, you can then return the book to us. This amounts to saving what can be hundreds of dollars after only a few courses.  

Even if you have the money to spend, renting textbooks is still better in most cases. It means fewer textbooks get wasted at the end of the semester, all while students get to keep more money in their bank accounts.

Check Our Catalog and Save

While we can hope lawmakers and educators clamp down on textbook price-gouging, we live in the system we live in. As we push for change, we still need textbooks, and some remain ludicrously expensive.

If you’re tired of buying textbooks for twice what they should cost, check out our catalog. Textbook rental is a great way to save money and guard against bad practices without letting your education suffer.