Beyond College Tuition: Renting Your Textbooks

The cost of college has become a point of concern with good reason. Fees, tuition and living expenses at private and public four-year colleges rose about 3 to 4 times the increase to the average family income, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Textbooks are often blamed as a main culprit for the high cost of higher education. Newer editions and required reading leave many students with money-sinking paperweights at the end of their semesters. Luckily, the option to rent your textbooks has become easier and easier for students (and the parents that often have to pay for them).

We’ve compiled a list of textbook rental services that might help you or your child’s burgeoning college costs:

Chegg was one of the first textbook renters when it launched in 2003 and has since worked hard to position itself as a helpful resource for college students. According to the company, they have saved their customers nearly $260 million and offer free shipping on sending your books back. They also plant a tree each time a book is rented, already planting three million since 2007.

Another popular textbook rental option, BookRenter offers free shipping both ways for their over 3 million textbooks. They also make donations each time a book is rented to First Book, which gives new books to underprivileged and at-risk children.

If you’re one to shop and compare, BigWords will be your best friend. Looking up your textbook will yield pricing results from both sellers and renters, giving you the information to make the best possible decision for each individual book. You might be surprised that it might actually be cheaper to buy used and resell than simply rent.

Maybe you don’t even need the book in front of you. CourseSmart‘s a little different than your average textbook rental service because they’re completely digital. You can either read online or view a protected PDF file of your textbook and they allow a free trial to test out this new option. Just make sure to save your eyesight and look away from the screen once in a while during those long study sessions.

Your Local Campus
Many schools are now offering their own textbook rental programs. If they’re not, it might be time to let them know that you want one!

If you’re worried about being able to take notes in your books, you shouldn’t worry. Most textbook rental services allow for a reasonable amount of writing in the margins and highlighting, though it’s a good idea to check the terms just to make sure. It’s also wise to compare purchase and average resell prices since you might be able to make back more money if you go that route. Comparing can all of the options can go a long way in saving money.

What do you think about renting your textbooks?

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