Renting vs. Buying textbooks

By MARINA ANDOLORO

Staff Writer

What’s increasing faster than the price of gasoline?  Apparently, it is the cost of student textbooks. It seems like every semester new editions come out and the price of that new textbook is even higher in price than that of the previous edition. Fortunately, sites have sprung up all over the Internet in the past few years that offer students the money-saving alternative of renting their books. Considering that not every student can afford the luxury of buying their books new every semester, renting books may be the best option.

Most students are unaware of how much money they could be saving by renting their textbooks instead of buying. The average full-time student pays more than $400 a semester on books, but could potentially save hundreds if they rented.

Renting books, whether it is in the college bookstore or online, is a new trend that is becoming more and more popular with many college students. There are many different sites that students can choose; CampusBookRentals.com, CollegeBookRenter.com, Chegg.com, Ecampus.com and BookRenter.com just to name a few.

As well as the option to rent textbooks, many of these sites also give you the option to buy new or used textbooks. The process is simple. Just pick a site and type in the ISBN number of the textbook needed for the semester. The rental prices will be displayed. Some sites even include the new and used prices so the best deal can be chosen that fits your needs. Simply make your decision and proceed to checkout.

As with all websites there are terms of agreement specific to each site that have to be followed. The return by date, the condition the book has to be returned in and what to do if the book is lost or stolen are rules that are all spelled out for you in the terms of agreement, so make sure you read them. Most sites offer free return shipping, using the same box the book was shipped in. There is also free tracking available. This allows students to be updated on the status of delivery and return of their books.

Until the advent of renting textbooks, students have found buying used textbooks to be the cheapest option available. It may cost a little more, but by purchasing used books students don’t have to worry about marking up their textbooks with highlighters and notes.

Used books can be bought back at the college bookstore or sold online to some of the sites previously mentioned, but you are likely to only get back 20% to 30% of the original purchase price.  Also, many students find that some used books are not available for buy back at the end of the semester.

When textbooks are replaced by a newer and more expensive edition, there is no longer a need for the older one.

Prices vary between buying new, buying used or renting books, so it is important to shop around to find the best deal.

SOURCE

NEW

USED

RENTAL

CCC  Bookstore $84.00 $63.00 $41.15
CampusBookRentals.com $29.47
CollegeBookRenter.com $68.91 $40.07
Chegg.com $60.84 $41.99
Ecampus.com $81.65 $36.75
BookRenter.com $69.93 $54.65 $34.13

Chart made based on pricing for the textbook: Inside Reporting EN 231 01

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