My favorite part of the semester is the end. Not because I am finished with classes – although that is a plus – but because I get to sell some of my textbooks back to the bookstore and get some of my money back. Sure, I still end up spending a ton of money buying my books and coming up with a deficit no matter how much money I get by selling them, but at least I get a little cash back.
But what if there was a way to avoid the whole spending-way-too-much-money-for-books-I-plan-on-only-using-for-a-semester-anyway thing? What if I could rent my textbooks for next semester? Well, actually, I can.
There are now several companies that allow students to rent affordable textbooks and then return the used books when the students have completed their classes. Most of the time, this model is much more economically beneficial than buying and reselling books.
1. The leader in this industry is Chegg.com. Chegg has saved students almost $100,000,000 since it was created in 2003. The process is very simple: Students select the books they need and the books are then mailed to the student. The student keeps the book for the term they have selected, and then return the books to Chegg in a prepaid UPS envelope. The books are guaranteed to be in good quality and students have 30 days to return the books for any reason. This return policy is much more lenient than most bookstore policies, which typically allow for only two weeks.
2. Another company that rents textbooks is CampusBookRentals.com. CampusBookRentals has the same usage policy as Chegg and encourages students to highlight and mark sections in the books that they find the most useful. Personally, I need to interact with my textbooks, so CampusBookRentals’ policy strongly appeals to me. CampusBookRentals claims that it saves students up to 85 percent on their textbooks, which is quite a nice chunk of change.
3. The third most popular book renting website is BookRenter.com. BookRenter is pretty much the same as the other two websites, but it only claims to save students 75 percent on textbooks. However, BookRenter prides itself on having the largest selection of books available, so this is the place to rent your books if you can’t find them on Chegg of CampusBooksRentals.
College textbooks are outrageously expensive. Let’s be honest: Sometimes it’s fun to spend a lot of money, like when you buy that beautiful iPod Touch or get a new wardrobe for job interviews. But I have never heard someone get excited about spending all of their summer savings on their biochemistry book. However, it’s possible that I would get excited about saving a lot of money by renting my textbooks. Now there’s something to think about.