By: Mr. Wade
In the past few years, the number of students renting textbooks has skyrocketed as big online companies joined the game. Campus bookstores had to follow suit, and many colleges now routinely offer rentals. However, just like purchasing outright, renting can be expensive. Sometimes it's just as costly or, in some cases, more costly. Therefore, it's imperative that you shop around; compare textbook rental prices from many different vendors before pulling the trigger (just click "Rent" on our homepage).
Lots and lots of companies buy, sell, and rent books online. That's three types of transactions that are happening constantly. At any given time, each company has varying supplies of each book, and the rental price is tied to how many they have. If they have a lot in stock, the price will be lower, and if they have very few in stock, the price will be much higher. It can vary by fifty dollars, sometimes for example.
Don't automatically assume that it will be cheaper to rent. Sometimes you can purchase a used copy for less than some companies will rent you a copy - you can then sell it at the end of the semester and recover some of your money. If they are about the same, it's still better to buy. If the purchase price is significantly more than the rental price, then you might want to consider renting. Consider the fact that you won't be able to sell the book and recover any of your money.
With our handy calculator, quickly estimate whether you should rent or buy textbooks - we'll take the best rental price, the lowest purchase price, and the current buyback offer, and figure out which option is the better deal.
The book store at your school can charge what it wants, so be sure to check online that's where the best deals are.