Book Rental Sites
What most people envision when they think about the typical college student is someone living in a cramped dorm room, eating ramen noodles at every meal, and consistently strapped for cash. While the first two may be rather inaccurate stereotypes, the latter is not that far off. The average student struggles to some degree financially, and as college expenses rise, it's becoming more difficult to fund an education.
In recent years, the costs associated with student life have skyrocketed. Fortunately, a number of textbook rental sites have been introduced. Now instead of paying retail price for brand new textbooks, students can rent them for a fraction of the cost. Our textbook rental comparison of the top sites should help in your quest to save money.
Book Rental Sites: What to Consider
To find a textbook rental website that ensures quality, reliability and affordability review the following considerations including cost, the website's ease of use, array of textbooks, shipping rates and speed as well as customer service feedback.
- Cost-Does it fall within your price range or budget?
- Website's ease of use-How easy is the site's navigation or moving from one page to another? Is it categorically laid out for simple searches?
- Textbooks available-What sort of selection does the site offer?
- Shipping/delivery speeds-Are the shipping rates reasonably priced and do they offer expedient delivery times?
- Customer service reviews-Were other customer generally satisfied with their order?
Cheap Textbook Rentals
Textbooks.com Book Rental Review
- Great choice of textbooks available
- Ability to buy e-textbooks
- Buying and selling facilities
- User-friendly website with social media integration
- A number of shipping options available
- Free shipping only available on purchased books
- Rental period options limited
If you are looking for a textbook rental service that offers a wide array of book options plus a helpful customer service staff, you'll find that Textbooks.com is your perfect match. This site offers a range of options for customers, including the ability to choose from a large selection, buy and sell textbooks, and even purchase electronic editions. All of this equates to massive savings! The likelihood that you'll find the exact edition you're searching for is high because of its extensive database. If you have books laying around that you'd like to sell you can also use this site to make some extra cash by creating an account and posting your items. Scrambling last minute to get a textbook for class? You can usually download the electronic version in seconds for a fraction of the cost. That's good news for procrastinators as well as money conscious students. These combined features contribute to a supreme user experience.
When it comes to rental periods, this provider lets you rent out books for a semester at a time, so you will need to contact the company directly if you need to extend the period. This means that rental options are more limited than its competitors, which is a downside to the provider. On the upside, the provider offers a simple and easy to use website, with a good layout and social media integration. A number of shipping options are available, including express delivery (3-5 days) and overnight shipping. However, shipping is only free if you are purchasing the books as opposed to renting them. Before you decide whether to use this provider, take a look at the pros and cons.
Verdict - Superb
This provider is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and has an A+ from the provider. It also has decent to good reviews and ratings on sites like Knoji.con, Epinions, and Trust Pilot. Its great selection of books coupled with its rental, selling, and purchase facilities has earned it a top spot on our list of companies. All in all, despite its shortfalls when it comes to rental period options, this provider offers plenty of options for students along with a great choice of books.
Chegg Book Rental Review
- Years in the industry
- Wide selection of titles
- Simple ordering process
- Excellent customer service
- Bonus tools and resources
- Only one rental period option
- No free shipping with rentals
As a textbook rental service with plenty of experience in this industry, Chegg offers a wide array of textbooks to choose from. One of the great things about this provider is that it offers access to a range of titles and convenient resources like course planners and reviews. It also has a very simple and easy to use website that is packed with information to simplify the process. Chegg's satisfaction guarantee stands at 21 days, which is a little shorter than the normal 30 day periods offered by most competitors. Furthermore, there is only one rental option for students to take advantage of-125 days. This means that compared to its competitors, it is very limited in terms of rental period options. Another disadvantage is that it does not offer free shipping. What it does offer, however, is choice, reliability, experience, and excellent customer service.
Chegg is BBB accredited and has been given the top rating of A+. It also has good reviews on consumer sites such as Knoji.com, Epinions, and Trust Pilot. Its history and selection of books has earned Chegg the third spot on our list.
Verdict - Great
Chegg earns a solid rating on the grading scale. The company has extensive experience in the industry, a satisfaction guarantee, and a wide selection of books to choose from.
eCampus Book Rental Review
- Wide range of rental options
- Years of experience in the industry
- Access to a range of other products (collegiate gear, DVDs, etc)
- International shipping
- Free shipping over $59
- Website difficult to navigate
For students who are looking for a textbook rental company that offers international shipping, eCampus might be the perfect choice. This is a feature that sets the provider apart from other companies and places it a step ahead of the rest. eCampus offers free shipping on orders over $59 plus access to discounted collegiate merchandise (t-shirts, hats, etc). eCampus has over a decade of experience in the textbook rental industry, and has become a trusted resource among students who want to save some serious dough. Not in the market for textbooks? You can also purchase Blu Ray discs and DVDs from the company!
A varied selection of textbook rental periods are available, including a 180-day option. The biggest drawback with this website is the fact that it's a bit disorganized so navigating the pages can get tricky. eCampus is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and has received an A. Ratings and reviews on consumer sites such as Yelp, Epinions, and Trustpilot range from average to good. With its variety of shipping options as well as its long winded history, this provider earns the second spot on our list.
Verdict - Great
eCampus proves to be a suitable provider for students, in particular those who need books to be shipped outside the United States.
BookRenter.com Book Rental Review
- A great choice of textbooks to select from
- Website that is simple and easy to get around
- A variety of shipping options available
- Social media integration to keep you up to date
- A range of rental options plus the ability to extend for a small fee
- Shorter refund period
- No overnight or international shipping
As the name of the site suggests, this service provider is all about renting books, enabling students with big ambitions and small budgets to obtain the textbooks they need in order to advance their studies. Another great thing about this rental site is that it has a large selection of available textbooks, which means that you stand a greater chance of finding the exact edition you need. The site uses social media integration to enable customers to stay up-to-date on what's going on with the company. It also offers a live chat feature, which adds to the effectiveness of the company's customer service.
In addition to offering rentals, Book Renter allows you to purchase and sell textbooks at your own price. There are various rental options available to suit your needs as well as an extension period for those who want to prolong the length of their rental (for a fee). You can choose from a range of shipping options and the return period is 21 days. Be aware, however, that there is no overnight or international shipping available.
Verdict - Good
As a BBB accredited business, Book Renter has earned the highest rating of an A+. User ratings on Knoji.com are good and on Trust Pilot are average. For those who want to have access to a wide range of textbooks through a reliable company, Book Renter is a good choice.
Campus Book Rental Review
- Free shipping on textbook rentals
- 21-day risk-free returns
- 15-day grace period
- Re-rentals available for 30 percent of original price
- Facility for selling personal textbooks
- Limited shipping options
If you want a quick, convenient, and simple way to rent textbooks for college, Campus Book Rentals has got you covered. This reputable and popular service provider has helped many students circumvent the high costs and hassle associated with purchasing books. In operation since 2007, Campus Book Rentals has extended numerous promotions, including a 15-day grace period, and discounted re-rental fee (30 percent). What's more, they boast a 21-day risk-free return policy plus free returns.
There are many convenient features that come with this site, including a tailored return date schedule on any rented book as well as a live customer support center. The one drawback is that shipping options are limited. On the site, there's a section where you can sell used or new textbooks - provided through FirstClassBooks.
Campus Book Rentals is accredited by the Better Business Bureau, which has given it a B rating. The provider has decent reviews on consumer sites such as Knoji.com. While Campus Book Rentals definitely has a lot going for it, be mindful of the pros and cons before making a decision.
Verdict - Fair
All in all, this is a very solid, reliable, and popular textbook rental site that offers some invaluable features and benefits for students who want to save money on the cost of buying books.
Textbook Rental Comparison Recap
Renting a book as opposed to buying it new saves money in the short and long run because once a class is over most students won't use their textbook again. And more often than not, the publishers release a newer edition the following semester which makes the older one obsolete and nearly impossible to resell. Of course, the tricky part is finding the right textbook rental service.
Online TextBook Rental FAQs
What amount should I allocate to textbooks each school semester?
The amount of money that you should budget for textbooks each semester is dependent on a number of factors. The first is the course load that you expect to take. The higher the course load, the higher you should expect your textbooks to cost. For example, if you only plan to take 12 semester hours, this would mean 3 classes on average or an average of 3 textbooks for the semester.
If you are going to take 18 semester hours, this could represent 4 or 5 classes, which would mean an average of 4 to 5 textbooks for the semester. With the average textbook cost running, $175 per book this could mean the difference between $525 for the semester and $875 for the semester.
Another factor in textbook costs depends on the type of major you plan to pursue. Science and math textbooks will cost you more than English or History books. In addition, those books typically have multiple editions that change based on a few additional problems. Hopefully, you will have a lenient professor who allows for alternative editions, which would allow you to rent or borrow textbooks cheaper than having to buy them.
According to the National Association of College Stores, students spend on average $655 per year on textbooks, which means around $330 per semester. When you are working on your budget for the year, make sure you take this into consideration in addition to the other factors around your course load before determining the appropriate budget.
Always make sure you look for ways to save on your textbooks while you are budgeting, though, and if you can avoid paying for new books out of pocket, then you will really give your finances a leg up over the course of your studies.
How can I minimize the amount I spend on textbooks?
Other than tuition, room and board, textbooks represent a significant cost for college students. According to the National Association of College Stores, the average annual cost for textbooks in 2012 was $655; depending on your area of studies this cost could be higher. Students who are pursuing degrees in science and math should expect to pay more money per textbook required.
With these staggering costs, it is important to find as many ways to save as possible.
Remember to always ask your professor if editions other than the ones that they list are available for use. New editions typically drive up the cost of books and if your professor is comfortable with alternative editions, this could save you hundreds of dollars a semester.
If you are thinking about taking a class in the following semester, before the end of the current semester, consult with friends and peers to see who is already taking the class and try to work out a situation where you could borrow or rent the book from them.
Another textbook savings strategy you should consider is renting used textbooks. We shared our top five textbook rental providers and many of them have competitive prices on most textbooks you would require.