Textbook Rentals

My friend told me her daughter called from college and wanted money (quick!) for her $150 dollar
chemistry book because she had already spent all of her ready cash. Yeah... I hear ya.

Textbook rentals. Anyone can rent a textbook!

Her Mom rented it instead. The textbook rents for $48 a semester from 123Textbooks.com

That is $100 saved for Mom and a fast textbook delivery for dottir. Fast, convenient, free shipping and no hassles. What's not to love?

Renting a Textbook? Tips

Here are a few things to watch out for.

  • Paying too much for a rental when you would be better off buying a used textbook and reselling it after you've finished the course. Using the comparison search engines we've listed will help you decide.
  • Paying for shipping (from or to) on a rental. The better stores pay shipping both ways.
  • Writing in your book or highlighting more than 50% of the pages. This will make your book "unusable" and it won't be accepted when you try to return it. You'll be charged extra for a replacement.
  • Not returning the book promptly. Most companies will give you a courtesy extension, maybe even two. (For a fee.) After that, they will charge you full price for a replacement.
  • Paying a restocking fee if you have to return the book within the guaranteed return window. The better companies do not have restocking fees.
Packaging your return textbooks poorly. The rental companies are not responsible for lost or damaged packages coming from you. So get tracking numbers on your packages and use common sense when sending them back.

Textbook Rental Companies

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Chegg is number one in the textbook rental industry. They have a 30 day guarantee, so if for any reason you need to return the book (you dropped the class, you broke your leg, the book is stupid or you just need to buy more Top Ramen instead) they'll take the book back. You'll have to pay return shipping charges. The 30 day return privilege starts ticking the second your order is confirmed. NOT when your book arrives, NOT when the order is actually shipped. Just FYI.

Also Chegg tries to include supplementary materials like CD's, workbooks, online access codes and stuff like that. But they don't guarantee you'll get them, so if it's important you have the CD…
Oh, Chegg plants a tree everytime you rent a book. They've planted over three million trees! They say they are planting 50 acres of trees per week through American Forests Releaf. Good + Good = Win

Textbook rentals can save you 25% to 50% of your college textbook costs, however they may not always be the most economical choice. For instance if you can buy the used textbook for $50.00 and then sell it at the end of the quarter for $50.00 you would be foolish to rent the textbook.

The only constant in the textbook acquisition game is that buying the brand new textbook at full cost is always going to be the most expensive choice, duh right.  Everything after that is subject to a number of market variables, (number of used textbooks on the market, inventory rates at any number of textbook companies, shipping costs, deals, coupons, the worth of your time and brain space) which makes it a bit of a chore for you the student to ferret out the best option.

CampusBookRentals.com is another big player and they also have a 30 day return policy, also beginning at the date of order. The one distinguishing thing between Chegg and CampusBookRentals is that Chegg does not offer a book insurance program while CampusBookRentals does. That might be a comfort to some who have sticky fingered friends or little brothers who like crayons.

No matter who you rent your textbooks from the rental prices are always going to change according to the availability and demand of any particular book.

Textbook rental companies all use pricing software that allow them to make pricing decisions in the milliseconds and it all runs quietly in the background. For that reason and because the companies are essentially the same -- aside from a few minor perks or which charity they support -- you'll want to check the price at every one of them before making your rental decision.

One site you must know about is TextbookRentals.com. This site compares textbook prices for you. If that's not great enough, they'll also check the new and used prices of the book too.

123 Textbook Rentals!

I entered a search at TextbookRentals for "The Annotated Pride and Prejudice" book to see the prices it would bring back. True to its promise TextbookRentals showed me the lowest price of $11.48 which was not for a textbook rental but for a brand new book, including the shipping cost. The lowest textbook rental price was $19.09.

 So textbook rentals are not always the cheapest option and Textbookrentals.com is the place to scope this out. (Chegg had "The Annotated Pride and Prejudice" available to buy used for $14.86 It was not available from Chegg as a rental.)

Textbook rentals are sweeping college campuses. Nebraska Book Company (service provider to over 260 of the USA's college campus bookstores) has introduced a turnkey solution that provides a viable, profit producing rental solution to local campus bookstores. This has been a boon to college administrators and to the students they serve.

Online students need not feel left out. In fact, online solutions were at the driving edge of the rental trend and still offer some of the best prices. Below you will find a list of some of the better textbook rental outlets and the search comparison engines that populate this marketplace.

Longview Community College in Kansas City KS has an innovative program that directly rents textbooks to its students. Many other colleges such as the University of Wisconsin Whitewater are beginning to follow the trend so check with your local school bookstore to see when they will have textbook rentals available for students.