With the astronomical price of buying new textbooks, thousands of college students are looking for alternative sources to either buy used or to rent textbooks on sites such as Amazon.com and Chegg.com. My first semester of college, I ended up buying some of my books used from the bookstore and some from online sites.
Although I ended up getting my books for much less than I had planned to spend, at the end of the semester, I was stuck with about a dozen books that I knew I would never read again. Having little to no online auction experience, the thought of selling them on a site like Ebay seemed too time consuming and was overwhelming to me. The result? Two years later, I still have the majority of the textbooks from my first semester in college getting dusty on a shelf in my room at home.
Since that first semester, I’ve found that renting is the best option for me. There are plenty of textbook rental sites out there (our Textbook Town textbook price comparison search tool includes rental sites), but the most convenient service that I have found is Rent-A-Text.com. The folks at Rent-A-Text are pioneers in that they have actually joined with over 800 colleges and universities in the nation to offer textbook renting services through your own college’s bookstore. This way, you know for sure that you are renting the right book since Rent-a-Text goes through the college bookstore–the only place that has access to your professors’ book lists. (To see if your college offers rental services through Rent-A-Text, just check out the website at www.rent-a-text.com and type in your school name.)
The way Rent-A-Text works is that you order your textbooks online, and then they are delivered right to your campus bookstore for you to pick up. No shipping fees, no nothing. Returning the books at the end of the semester is easy too. You just have to bring your books back to the bookstore where they can be “checked in” before being sent back to the Rent-A-Text headquarters, or rented to another student at your school.
Renting really is the best option, because if the book is just for a General Education class you are required to take, the chances that you will crack open that book even once after you’ve completed the class are slim to none. That being said, you will come across some great textbooks during your time in college that you will actually want to keep as a reference even after you graduate. However, it’s hard to know ahead of time which books are important and which are not,which can make the decision to buy or rent your books difficult.
Now, I’m not sure if this is what Rent-A-Text wants you to hear, but I will let you in on a little secret, college student to college student. At the end of the semester, if you decide you actually want to keep the book that you rented through this service, just don’t return it. When you first rent your textbooks, on your receipt you will find the exact amount that would be charged if you failed to return your textbook by the established date. More often than not, the initial price of renting the book plus the fee for not returning it ends up to be less than what you would have paid to buy the book in the first place.