Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Renting versus buying textbooks: Which is better?

Is it better to rent your textbooks? Would you save even more money if you bought the book and then sold it when you’re done with it? Where’s the best place online to buy cheap textbooks? If these questions are keeping you up at night, you’ll want to check out, a website that lets you buy, rent, or sell textbooks.’s goal is “to make buying and selling books easier, faster, and more cost effective.” They specialize in college textbooks. When you search for a textbook, you’ll see a comparison of purchase, rental, or eBook prices from numerous retailers. is worth a look:

For an in-depth look at eTextbooks, click on Traditional Textbooks vs. eTextbooks--Which is Right for You?

1 comment:

Steven McBen said...

Most students think that renting is always the best option. But think again! It is good idea to compare textbook prices before deciding if a student should buy or rent textbooks.

Renting is obviously is good option when it is considerably cheap to rent than buying used textbooks. Rented textbooks have to be returned by the due date. A late return may incur fines as high as $10/week. Textbook rented from companies should be kept in acceptable condition and without excessive high lighting.

Buying used textbooks allows you to keep the book in whatever condition you wish to. At the end of the semester you can sell it or decide to keep it as reference material. If you decide to sell your textbooks you will usually receive at least 60% of the price if had purchased your textbook wisely.

Let us now use a price comparison website ( to compare buying used versus renting.

Book 1:
System Dynamics (4th Edition)
ISBN10: 0131424629
See rental prices at usedtextbookprices: Chegg ($58), Textbookrus ($62)
See the used prices at usedtextbookprices: Abebooks ($73.99), Half ($83)
See international edition prices at usedtextbookprices: Abebooks ($28.98), Textbookrus ($29.74)

The above book is cheapest buying international edition. The difference is rental and used textbook price is just $14 indicating used textbook buying or just purchasing international editions are better option.

Book 2:
Biology: Concepts and Connections (6th Edition)
ISBN10: 0321489845
See the rental prices at usedtextbookprices: Chegg ($44), Campusbookrentals ($31.50)
See the used prices at usedtextbookprices: Half ($51), Amazon ( $57)

The above book is cheapest renting. But buying used is better option because at the end of the semester you are sure to sell this book for at least $35. Rent is good option if you want no hassle.

The decision to buy versus rent should be based on the price comparison and other factors discussed above. If you have pets that frequently tear and chew book, my advice is to buy cheap used textbook than renting.

Ryan Colls
Make Textbooks Affordable Campaign
Oklahoma State University