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Why buy when renting textbooks is an option?

Posted August 20, 2009

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— As college students head back to class, tuition isn't the only big check many will write. Most will shell out hundreds of dollars for books they probably won't keep. 

But why buy when you can rent? It's a growing trend on college campuses.

Rent textbooks instead of buying Rent textbooks instead of buying

Aaron Andersen, a junior at North Carolina State University rented his textbooks from Chegg.com, an online company that advertises savings of 65 percent to 85 percent of what students would pay for a book at a traditional college bookstore.

"This saves me, probably, $200 to $300," he said. "If you don't have very much (money) and you don't have much financial aid, this will save you a lot."

There are other online companies, like BookRenter.com, that offer the same type of service.

Students rent the books they need, receive them through the mail and return them, often free, once they are finished using them.

The drawback, some students say, is that it can sometimes take a while for the books to arrive. That's why the companies recommend students start shopping once they get their reading lists.

Andersen said Chegg estimated between 7 to 14 days for his textbooks to arrive. They arrived in five days.

For him, the rental process was easy.

"If you can create a Facebook account, you can do this," he said.

3 Comments

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  • JS82084 Aug 24, 2009

    I've made the mistake of buying books from my college's bookstore. When it's time to sell them back to the school, they usually don't take them back because either the edition has changed or because books come with certain software or access codes that can only be used once. Renting books is a nice option, but many times you can find the books you need on sites like amazon.com and cheapbooks.com for a substantially cheaper price. They might not be in perfect condition but if it's only a book you need for one semester, it's often times worth it to not buy it brand new. It's also a good idea to sell the books you don't need on amazon and eBay, because many times you can get more money for them than your school's bookstore would have offered anyway!

  • hihuwatlu Aug 24, 2009

    how does the price of renting textbooks compare to buying and then selling them back at the end of the semester?

  • BuglessDuster Aug 21, 2009

    Text books are the biggest ripoff ever. What a country! The teacher forces you to buy the book he or she has written and it costs 150.00. You could buy five hardback book at Barnes and Noble for that price.