By: Mr. Wade
The answer to this question depends on 3 factors: purchase price, buyback price, and rental price. If you purchase outright, you'll be able to sell at the end of the semester and recover some of your money. Obviously you won't get any money back if you decide to rent. User our Rent or Buy Textbooks Calculator to estimate which option is the best deal. It will find the best rental price, the lowest purchase price, and the current buyback price. After running some calculations, it will let you know which option to choose. Also, we provides links to the best deals, so you can save the most money!
You can buy some books for much less than you can rent them, and for other books, you can rent them for much less than you would pay for them. The lesson here is to ALWAYS compare rental and purchase prices from lots and lots of companies. Check on campus also, but everything is usually going to be more expensive there.
It's just easier in many cases because you don't have to worry about selling at the end of the semester, and many students prefer to rent for this reason. However, others still prefer to buy, and it's really a matter of choice.
I generally don't like the idea of renting anything, whether it's a car, boat, house, or in this case, a textbook. But the cost is low, and it's not something I'm going to keep for a long time. I would be fine with it in this case.
If you return your rented book at the end of the semester, and it's damaged, you'll have to pay some sort of a "damage" fee. If you don't return it at all, the rental company will charge you for the full price. Rainy days can wreak the most havoc on whatever books you have in your backpack. Maybe some modern packs are more waterproof than others, but most will get soaked if it rains hard enough. I've been caught outside in a storm more than once on campus; my books got soaked. Luckily, I was able to dry them out for the most part and resell them, but I would probably have incurred some charges if I was renting.
It's a good idea to carry a plastic bag in your pack all the time - if it starts to rain, just wrap it around your books inside your pack, and they should survive.
It's easy to get your mind on other things at the end of a semester, so don't forget to pack your books up and return them. Also, don't lose your shipping label or you'll be on the hook for that. I recommend adding it to your calendar on your phone - somewhere where you'll get a notification to do it.