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 textbookrentals.com 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!