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Why buy when renting textbooks is an option?

Students rent the textbooks they need from online companies, get them in the mail and return them, often free, once they are finished using them.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — 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.

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.


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