Renting Versus Buying Your Textbooks Online (Guest Post)

The cost of textbooks can stack up quickly. Your net gain at the end of a school year, in either money or time, needs to be taken into consideration before you make a purchase.

At times, your textbooks will be worth buying and keeping. For instance, you may know you will want to keep those great, classic literary works from an English class. For other classes, books make solid references in the future when you want to brush up on basic material.

On the other hand, it may be easier for you to find a student on campus or online who is taking the course the following year who you can sell your textbooks to at an equal (or near equal) cost of your purchasing price.

You can purchase used editions of your textbooks at affordable prices at a site like

If you decide in the future to sell your book, is a useful resource for finding online bookstores offering the best buy back prices.

At the same time, keep in mind that some textbooks can get outdated quickly. As information and ideas change, many publishers can shell out new editions of their textbooks yearly. This happens often with many science-based course textbooks.

If this is the case, it may be easier to rent your textbooks online, rather than purchasing them. Oftentimes, with renting, you save more than half of the purchasing price.

Sites like and have hassle-free purchase and return policies. They also have a wide selection of books that are commonly used in classrooms.

For both sites, if for any reason you do not need the book you rented, you can return it to them within 21 days and 30 days, respectively, for a full refund (minus the cost of shipping). If there is an online version of your book, many sites offer you access to the online version while you wait for the physical book to arrive.

Not only do you save money when you rent your textbooks, but you do not have to worry about finding a buyer for your textbook or your book becoming devalued at the end of the semester.

It would be a good idea to check beforehand with your professors about their leniency with textbook editions. They usually understand the hefty price tag of their textbooks and do not require that you purchase the latest edition. You can also check-in with former students if it would be worth purchasing a textbook as opposed to renting it.

Know your budget and know what you want to get out of your course and your textbook.

If you know you are not going to use the textbook again and don’t want it to take up space in your home, or if you do not want to spend the time and effort of finding a buyer for your textbooks online or in person after what you know is going to be a long semester, renting your textbooks online is your best bet for saving money.

Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer from Los Angeles who writes on everything from health and medicine to technology and travel. She currently writes for HostPapa and has seen firsthand how renting textbooks can be a great way to go while on a budget.

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8 thoughts on “Renting Versus Buying Your Textbooks Online (Guest Post)

  1. Pingback: Renting Versus Buying Your Textbooks Online (Guest Post) | Stefanie Weisman | Marcela De Vivo

  2. Students can save most of their textbook costs by purchasing used textbooks after comparing prices on a website like (to ensure they don’t pay over the current market price). Then, once they are through with their textbooks, students can create a free seller account on Amazon Marketplace or eBay’s and re-sell their textbooks directly to students. Listing books is free, but they will pay a final value price that is calculated as a percentage of the sale price. With this methodology, they should be able to recoup most of their textbook expenses. I’ve written about this in detail here:

  3. That’s right, buy used or rent textbooks, and yes, use coupons but here’s another thing; let’s not forget our campus bookstores…If you already found the best online deals, at least get one from your college bookstore.

  4. First off I would like to say wonderful blog! I had a quick question
    that I’d like to ask if you don’t mind. I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your thoughts
    prior to writing. I’ve had a hard time clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas
    out there. I do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to
    15 minutes are generally wasted just trying to figure out
    how to begin. Any recommendations or tips? Cheers!

  5. Nice set of tips on saving money for college textbooks. I would like to suggest one additional tip, use a textbook price comparison service. No site, not even Amazon is the cheapest all the time. Used textbooks and rental textbook prices change daily as supply and demand change. Using a textbook price comparison service will report the cheapest source today.

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