Pros and Cons of Renting College Textbooks

What are the pros and cons of renting college textbooks?

Renting college textbooks, overall, is cheaper than buying college textbooks. If you’re the type who never looks at the college textbook after the course is over, then renting is for you. It’s a wonderful way to save money on those necessary college textbooks. When you want a cheap textbook, renting is your option. Of course, buying used can be helpful too, but renting is still often cheaper than buying used.

When you buy books online, you often find yourself getting a better deal than in the textbook stores. There are many online websites which have ideas of what to do. Cheap textbooks online are commonplace and you can find yourself many a good deal there. However, you can find even cheaper textbooks if you rent.

With dozens of websites lining up to sell you and rent you books, it’s up to you whether or not you rent or buy. Renting is overall cheaper, but if you love to scribble notes in the side margins, then it’s not a good idea to rent a textbooks. Often, highlighting is only what’s allowed in the textbooks, so if you have to write in the textbooks, renting isn’t for you. A lot of times people have personal reasons why they will never, ever rent as well. One student I talked to said she would never rent a textbook because she had a dog named Missy who loved chewing on the edge of books. If this is your situation, don’t rent. Buy used instead.

People who are interested in renting textbooks can save big money, but sometimes there are books you need to keep for future classes. Those you should buy. However, if it’s for a class like humanities and the textbook is a hundred dollars and you need two of them, you should consider renting those. If you’re a financial aid student and you have the cash, you might like having all new textbooks. Here are the pros and cons of renting and buying textbooks:

Pros of renting textbooks:



Cons of renting textbooks:

You can’t sell the book back to the bookstore
Sometimes you have to pay for shipping both ways
Sometimes the stores don’t have the books you want

Pros of buying textbooks:

It’s yours to keep
You can highlight in it, mark it up, and scribble up the pages as much as you want

College rental textbooks involve high shipping charges… Even if you buy online, you
only pay a flat rate for shipping in most places
You can sell the textbook when it’s finished


Cons of buying textbooks:

Sometimes (only if you buy online) you can accidentally buy the wrong book
It’s more expensive
You have to sell (or keep) the book when it’s finished