Textbooks can be one of the biggest expenses for students besides tuition. According to the college board, students spend about $1250 per year on textbooks. This is why many students opt to rent their textbooks rather than purchase them.
Keep reading for this quick on whether you should rent or buy textbooks and 5 big benefits of renting college textbooks.
Factors to Consider Before Buying a Textbook
Many students complain about having to buy textbooks that they never get to use during the course. To avoid wasting money it is best to seek the advice of previous students that took the course. This can advise you on whether you will need to buy the recommended textbooks.
In case they say to buy the book then you can still save money by buying a used book rather than a new one. Used books generally have the same content but cost much less. You may only have to put up with someone else notes and highlights.
Something else to consider when buying textbooks is that newer editions sometimes come with passkeys for online content that you wouldn’t be able to get from used books. Find out from your professor if it would be necessary to buy a new textbook. Sometimes there is additional content or a used book may not be good enough.
If the cost of a new book is prohibitive you could consider purchasing it with a classmate and splitting the cost. You would then have to split your usage of the book fairly but in the end, it would cost you both less.
Once you buy a book, you have the option of selling it to students that will take the course after you or to the university library. Alternatively, if the book was very useful, you have the advantage of being able to keep it as a reference book in your library.
Factors to Consider When Renting Books
Textbook rentals are great for when you only need the textbook for a small section of the course. In such cases, purchasing a book just for one chapter could be a waste of money. If you have a tight budget and can’t afford to buy a textbook then renting is a great option.
The only limitation is that you will need to return the book by a certain date. So you have to time your rentals in such a way that you have the book at critical times such as during exams. To have the book for a longer time you could rent the book with a classmate so that you two can borrow it back-to-back.
Advantages of Renting College Textbooks From An Online Site
The internet has made renting textbooks much easier for students. Many online companies allow students to borrow books at the beginning of the semester and return them after your final paper. This means that students no longer have to worry about not having a textbook when studying for a crucial exam. Below are some more advantages of renting textbooks from online stores.
1. Renting Books Is Much Cheaper Than Buying Them
The main advantage of renting textbooks over buying them is that it is much cheaper to rent. You can rent popular textbooks at about a quarter of the price it would cost to buy a used version.
The cost of renting is also much cheaper than buying a new book. The money saved from renting could be put towards other uses like paying rent or buying groceries.
2. You Don’t Have to Find a Buyer at the End of the Semester
Renting textbooks is advantageous because once you are done with a book you can send it back to the online site. On the other hand, if you buy a book and you want to get rid of it you will lose a lot of money selling it. Bookshops and online stores like Amazon buy back books at a fraction of what they cost.
Selling textbooks to other students is also not as easy as it used to be. Many students don’t want to spend money on buying books. If they decide to buy they may prefer to buy newer editions.
3. You Can Rent the Latest Editions
If your budget is limited, you may be forced to buy used books. However, some courses may require you to buy the latest edition of a book due to new material being added.
In case you can’t afford the latest edition of a book, then an online rental company could be your savior if they have the latest edition in stock. You would be able to rent it even cheaper than how much you would have spent on buying a used book.
4. You Can Rent Digital Books
Another advantage of online book rental companies is that they tend to stock a lot of digital books. This makes it easy to borrow and return books as you don’t have to visit the physical store or pay for shipping.
You can save many books in one e-reader making them very portable. Otherwise, you’ll need to carry several physical books all at once. Renting digital books is cheaper than renting their physical equivalents which saves you even more money.
5. It Is Convenient to Search for Books Online
If you are looking for a rare textbook it only takes a few minutes of online search to find a store that sells it. In comparison trying to physically search for the book may take a whole day and you may still end up not finding the book. This makes online rentals very convenient and a huge timesaver.
Should You Rent or Buy Textbooks?
Deciding to rent or buy textbooks can be confusing. Yet, renting can often be more beneficial than buying them. This is because you save a lot of money through renting and it is also much more convenient to find and borrow books online.
On the other hand, if you need a textbook for future reference it may be better to buy it for your library. Click here to browse through our textbook rental options.