Renting college textbooks is worth considering and may save you money, but buying used and trading in your books at the end of the semester can be better in some cases. It depends on your particular situation and the book.
1. Pricing your books as if you were going to buy them. Before you know if the rental process is right for you you should check out how much your books cost at your campus bookstore. Then compare this to online prices using the Low Price Books for Android App by scanning the books barcodes. The app will find the lowest price (new or used) from all of Amazon and it’s 3rd party merchants, including trade in values (discussed later).
2. Review rental pricing and rules. Renting can save you a lot of money and can also be easier at the end of the semester when all you need to do is return the book. It’s not always the best deal though. Make sure that you understand all the rules on how to return the book and know the deadline it must be received by. As an example, Amazon can charge the full price of the book if not returned by the due date.
3. Textbook Trade in value. Now that you know the rental prices you need to use the Low Price Books App for Android to find out if this textbook has a trade in value on Amazon. Not all textbooks do and it’s always changing. If the textbook does have a trade in value then you need to compare the price you would pay (new or used) to buy the book minus the trade in value to the rental costs. Sometimes this is cheaper than renting and can be helpful when a rental isn’t available with all of the books you need.
4. Do the math. Make sure to factor in other costs, such as shipping and packaging. If you do your homework on the different ways to acquire the books you need you can really save quite a bit of money of the course of your college career.
As an example before I end this post, the #1 Biology textbook new is $202, but a good used copy is $76 and can even be traded back in later for $51. However, the rental price is only $22. In this case, if you know the book can be returned on time the rental may be the best option.