College Textbook Rentals (Pro)
This article is part of a counterpoint series between Keith Kaplan of BookRenter.com and Matt Gagnon of the BetterGrads social media team. Check back for Matt’s response to Keith’s support for renting college textbooks!
When it comes time to buy textbooks for your class, we all know it can empty your wallet. Every year when I start classes it always seems like I’m throwing a few hundred dollars in one click of a button.
I’ve always thought: Why buy a textbook for $200+ when you’re probably going to return it at the end of the semester for less than half the price? Most times, bookstores and online stores won’t buy back a book because it’s an outdated edition.
How do we stop this phenomenon? Well, you may have heard of textbook rentals.
Within the past few years, textbook rentals have sky rocketed. Instead of buying your textbooks, you rent and return them after your class is finished.
After asking many students, it seems that many don’t know that renting textbooks can keep a lot of money in your wallet. To give you a better understanding of how textbook rentals work, here’s a breakdown of the advantages of renting textbooks:
- Renting textbooks is cheaper than buying textbooks. For example, the retail price for the textbook, “Cost Accounting: A Managerial Emphasis” is $221.33. Renting this textbook could cost as low as $44.27. You save $177.06 by renting (that’s 80% of the price!)
- Some textbook rental sites offer free shipping. Textbook rental sites like BookRenter.com offer free shipping both ways: when you rent them, and then when you return them.
- Return books you didn’t need (for free). Some textbook rental sites offer a grace period for when returning books you don’t need.
- Great selection is just as great as buying a book. Every textbook rental site I have search has had all my textbooks available.
- Textbook rental lengths are flexible. Most rental sites offer time periods that range in length. They can begin at 30 days and go all the way to a full semester rental.
- Take notes in a rental textbook! Some site allow you to write notes, highlight and mark up their books. Of course, make sure to check the site’s policy first.
- Want to buy the book? You can! If you end up wanting to keep your rented textbooks, many sites will let you buy it at the end of the rental period.
When it comes down to it, textbook rentals are a great alternative to buying textbooks. They provide the student with a way to save money, and in this day and age, that’s not a bad idea.
San Mateo, Calif.
Keith Kaplan is a recent Albion College graduate who plans to attend Teachers College, Columbia University to study instructional technology and media. This summer, he has worked as a social media intern with BookRenter.com.