questionsis it worth it to rent a textbook?

vote-for22vote-against
vote-for3vote-against

Consider International Editions. Usually cheaper than rentals, no worries about marking, loss or damage, and you get to keep it. These are often easy to resell as well. Sometimes they are the best deal, sometimes not. A little research will help you find the answer.

vote-for5vote-against

I would say no. You can often find books to buy cheaper online than to rent, although they'll likely have writing. Which never bothered me.

As @bangchan said, international editions are great too. Literally the only difference is that they're paperback instead of hardcover.

What I always did was shop around (amazon, ebay, half.com) and get the cheapest price for the best condition I could find. I personally avoided anything that didn't describe the book, but thats just me.

At the end of the semester, I'd look around the same three sites and list them back. I'd keep in mind what I paid but also mind the current average price per condition. Pretty much always made my money back, which allowed me to cycle that money towards the new semester of books.

Renting does not allow you to do this; its pretty much a complete loss. Not to mention if you're the kind of person who likes writing in their books, I dont think you can in rented books.

To me, it just makes more sense to buy and resell

vote-for2vote-against

It's not a bad idea I suppose. Depends on how much the rental fee is. There are sites out there that do this. Luckily, I haven't had to deal with textbooks since my first year of college. That was rough, I think that year I spent $1500 for books and maybe only recouped $500. I then transferred to a school where all textbooks are rented through the university bookstore. A fee for text rental is built into tuition, and we can get the majority of our books without paying out-of-pocket. Now, there are some books that we do have to buy, lab manuals, workbooks, study guides, etc, but only having to pay for those items still ends up being far less than what it would be if I had to shell out money for these big science books.

What I'd really like to see is being able to get my texts via Kindle or iBooks at a reduced cost. So far, it seems like the e-book versions cost the same or more than the print versions do, and you can't resell them.

vote-for2vote-against

It's not hard to sell your used books on Amazon and media mail shipping is cheap.That's what I did in college, I bought used on Amazon and then went back and sold them there. Sometimes I would come out even most times I took about a 10% hit. Have you looked into this?

vote-for3vote-against

I think it depends on the text book and whether the information will help you in the future. For example, I'm in nursing school and I've been repeatedly told not to sell my books back or rent them because I'll always need them.

vote-for2vote-against

I did it in grad school with no problems. Far cheaper than buying and I wasn't stuck with the book when I was done. I was able to still use quotes that I had saved in future classes by looking in old papers for the relevant quotes and had the citation ready to copy and paste. I recommend going that rout. It worked great for me.

vote-for2vote-against

I always bought my books off of Amazon or Half.com etc. It's usually a much better price than the price of books at the bookstore. Also, people are pretty honest about the conditions of their books normally so that is also a plus. I tend to prefer individual sellers over used books sellers for that reason.

One caveat to that advice: If you go the buying used route, you may run the risk of your text book becoming obsolete in the next semester. If this happens, prices could drop drastically or you wouldn't be able to sell our book. I've run into this issue a couple of times. That said, overall savings is still more than I would save if I rented.

vote-for1vote-against

i use to find out what the bookstore was paying for buybacks then find someone that had the class the week before semester end and offer them ten over the buyback amount. gave them an extra $10 and usually saved me 20-40

vote-for1vote-against

Just like the other people, I shopped around. Then if I get a super cheap price, I sell the book back to the bookstore for more than I paid. I have made enough some semesters to pay for the next semesters books! If I had to pay a lot for the book, usually it's better to sell on ebay or Amazon. I can usually get what I paid or close to it. So IMO renting is not worth it.

vote-for1vote-against

Being an undergraduate myself I feel your pain and i've discovered the obvious.. that if you buy your textbooks new from the college store you will never come close to making your money back and will overpay for your books. Renting from the bookstores is also a bad option in my mind as well because you can't keep the book should you need to repeat the course or just have a desire to keep the book and you can't make any money back. Book rentals are a way to make it look cheaper than it actually is. Oftentimes what I do to save money is research the previous edition of the book online and see how different it is from the current edition, they're often only different by grammatical corrections/changes or the addition of a couple pages here or there and work just as well for the information in them. I have no experience with international editions but have heard that multiple people use them and are happy. I search all over the internet (ebay, amazon, etc) and find the cheapest books I can