Renting Textbooks Will Save You Thousands of Dollars

College textbooks can easily cost hundreds of dollars per semester. That’s because some books sell for as much as $200-$300 apiece. Sometimes several books are needed per course.

If you don’t have children in college, you might have heard about the high cost of obtaining a four-year degree. It has never been more expensive, and, with two in college, we have to get creative about where to spend money.

One easy way is to rent textbooks, instead of buying them new. This is also a lot easier than it sounds.

A number of companies, such as Amazon and Barnes&Noble, allow you to rent textbooks. Another option would be to purchase new or used books, and resell them once you’re finished with them. But we’ve found it much easier to borrow, probably because we’re a little lazy and don’t want to be bothered with finding a buyer.

How Easy is it to Rent a Textbook?

Renting is no more difficult than purchasing a book online. Whatever company you use, you log into your account and find the books you need. Then you simply use the rental option instead of purchasing.

The books always arrive quickly. One company we use even allows you access to an online version if your book doesn’t reach your mailbox by the time class starts.

It’s a good idea to keep the box the books arrived in, so you have a box that fits when your rental is over. Most companies require you to return the books a day or two after your semester ends, and you’ve finished your finals.

Renting Textbooks Will Save You Thousands of Dollars

But What About Returns?

The return fee is typically included in the price of a rental. This step, believe it or not, is even easier than ordering. Once again, you log into your account and access a printable form. This is your free UPS voucher, which you place on the outside of your box. There is also a printout that you place inside your box, with the books.

Then you take it to your local UPS, or a private pack-and-mail store, and send them back.

Since my children have begun college, I estimate that we’ve, so far, saved hundreds of dollars renting books instead of buying them. The books arrive in good used condition, and that’s the condition in which they’re returned.

Flickr photo of thumbnail by Minivanninja