Steadfast FinancesRenting College Textbooks Cuts Higher Education Costs Up To 75% - Steadfast Finances

Renting College Textbooks Cuts Higher Education Costs Up To 75%

Filed in Education , Personal Finance 9 comments


As if the cost of college tuition wasn’t prohibitive enough, the most basic of college essentials – the college textbooks – has steadily been increasing over the last 2 decades.

According to data published by the General Accountability Office (GAO), the price of college textbooks has risen an average of 6% per year since the 1980s.

Twice the rate of inflation!

As it turns out, a few companies have found recent success renting college textbooks to reduce the costs of higher education.

The concept of online textbook rentals is fairly new, with most companies just getting started in 2005 or later, but the business has seen a surge in college student enrollment.  Some textbook rental companies are reporting that enrollment spiked as much as 800% in the last year alone. However, it’s not that big of a surprise when considering that online school programs have really taken off as well, signalling an overall shift towards the digital for the education field.

Why is it so popular?

Simple.  Students can save as much as 50% to 75% by renting, instead of the traditional means of buying at full price (new or used) and selling them back to the university at a big loss.

The savings are free to be spent upon beer, pizza, and well… you get the idea.

The only real drawback is that each rented textbook must be treated very well.  Similar to a library book.

That means, if you write in them or go nuts with a highlighter (some highlights are OK), you are charged full price for the book.  Of course, you could probably sell it back to the university without any problems.

Where can you rent your college textbooks?

  1. Bookrenter
  2. Chegg
  3. Campus Book Rentals
  4. Why Rent Books! (offers to beat any other rental site by 10%)

There could be a few more online rental sites out there because the business is so new, but this is a fairly comprehensive list.  Bookrenter alone claims to have reached up to 2000 campuses nationwide.

Photo by Rimone511

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Posted by CJ   @   25 September 2008 9 comments
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Sep 27, 2008
11:43 pm
#1 kevin jacobs :

Any one with half a brain and a computer can spend about 20 minutes online with and save them selfs as much as 65% off of their books and still be able to sell them back at the end of the semester for a guaranteed buy back rate… sounds a whole lot better to me then just shelling out some bucks to rent a book and getting nothing in the end…

Sep 29, 2008
10:59 am

Well, renting books makes sense to me. As does buying off Ebay.

Anyway you can get the blasted things cheaper is good in my book! (pun intended!)

Nov 25, 2008
6:24 am
#3 Brian Smith :

BIGWORDS?! BIG SPENDING!, they are sooOOo expensive at that site! I researched all three companies and found that had the best price.

Not only that, but I was actually able to reach a lIVE PERSON IMMEDIATELY! something that seems impossible on to do with internet companies. Not even Amazon or Half were that easy to reach.

BIGWORDS? Small Brains

Nov 25, 2008
10:22 am
#4 Matt :

@ Brian

Thanks for commenting. Granted, I didn’t rent any textbooks from any of the companies mentioned above, but I did find lots of positive feedback about

Dec 12, 2008
3:44 am
#5 Sasha :

Another rental site to check out as well is, I tried them this semester, the process was very quick and easy to use plus I saved alot of money. I prefer there rental plans to the other sites, its more affordable.

Dec 12, 2008
3:48 am
#6 Matt :

@ Sasha

Thanks for sharing. I’ll add this to my inventory of ideas if I do an updated post sometime.

Feb 10, 2010
9:46 am
#7 Matthew :

I just ran across your blog and wanted to make sure that you knew that also rents Textbooks. You can find search through our available rental books here: Rent Textbooks from

Feb 26, 2010
1:58 pm
#8 Julie :

We love using to rent textbooks and save a lot of money! I wanted to share a code that your readers can use to get a discount on their text order. Put in the code when ordering and hit the “apply” button. The code also gives you back an additional $5 when selling Chegg your used texts.

The code does not have an expiration date so it can be with every order. Here it is:


Feel free to pass this code to friends.

Feb 27, 2010
8:11 pm
#9 Matt SF :

Thanks Julie!

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