The cost of college textbooks can be a major financial stressor for parents and students. It’s not unusual to pay hundreds for a single textbook that will be used only 3 to 4 months, rendering the investment useless.
So, someone came up with a better idea. Why buy new when you can buy them used and pay less? That’s when students began selling their books back to the bookstore for extra cash, leaving the books for other students to buy used, at a cheaper price.
Then renting became an option. For college kids on a budget, this was the best bet, and for many, it still is. Students now have the option to rent the electronic version of textbooks (e-books). Not only are e-books cheaper, but they can be accessed on any mobile device. One useful feature of e-books is the digital search and find feature for specific words and topics, which beats thumbing through the actual pages of a hardcopy textbook.
Here are some top picks among the best textbook rental companies that offer just that:
Amazon has a Prime Student program where you can rent, buy, and sell textbooks, and you can trade in your books for an Amazon gift card. But the best part is, you can test the waters with a 6-month trial, which includes free 2-day shipping on certain purchases.
You can rent or buy both books and e-books from Chegg. If you want to sell your used textbook, get a quote with just your textbook’s ISBN. Shipping your used textbook to Chegg is free. Chegg also provides a 21-day risk-free return policy in case you drop or switch a class.
CampusBooks has been around since 1999, so they know the business of books. You can buy, rent, and sell here too, but they also help you to compare prices among competitors, tell you whether it’s cheaper to rent or buy, and provide useful info like textbook rental tips.
ValoreBooks provides a price match guarantee and gives you free return shipping on textbook rentals.
With Knetbooks you get free shipping on every order and plenty of rental options. You also get text message reminders about upcoming rental due dates.
These days it’s hard to distinguish one online bookstore from another. You’ll have to compare the cost of the book itself but you also need to compare shipping and handling costs, return options, exchanges, and expiration dates/flexibility. Take note of the customer service, too. Look for bookstore staff who are responsive and accommodating.
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