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At the same time, keep in mind that some textbooks can get outdated quickly.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.

Give yourself the gift of great grades.  Order your copy of The Secrets of Top Students today!