The Best Textbook Rental Companies

rentNobody likes buying college textbooks. The entire process is frustrating and hard on your pocketbook. You pay way too much money for a textbook that you might or might not use – depending on how much your professor actually uses that book – and then when the semester is over, you sell it back for considerably less money than you paid for it. For example, I bought a Spanish textbook for $95 last semester, and when I sold it back, I got a measly $11. Completely awful, huh?

Fortunately, there is an alternative to buying your textbooks and then selling them back. This alternative is renting your textbooks. According to, the average student will save more than $500 if he or she rents his or her books instead of buying books each year. So, if you are like me and would rather hold onto your money than give it to the big publishing companies, consider renting your textbooks this year. Here are some of the most popular places for renting textbooks.

chegg1. Chegg is the leader of textbook rentals in the market today. When this article was written, Chegg had saved students more than $200,000,000 off textbook cover prices since it was founded. Students can search for their books by ISBN, title, or author. Once students find their books, they rent themfor the term they need, then return the books for free through UPS. If the student changes his or her mind for any reason within the first 30 days, he or she can return the book to Chegg, no questions asked. Not a bad deal, if you ask me.

skoobit2. Skoobit is pretty similar to Chegg because it allows students to search for their books, rent the books as long as they need, and then return the books by mail. Skoobit also offers students the option to buy their books if they want. Clint Garret is a student at Patrick Henry Community College. Garret used Skoobit and said he “was able to rent five books [he] needed for the semester, and save over $300.” Three hundred dollars? For me, that’s enough for a very fun shopping trip, and a much better use of my funds than buying textbooks.

bookrenter3. BookRenter offers more than three million textbooks for students to rent, and students save 75 percent on average. If you want to keep up with which books are in stock, or any other fun facts about BookRenter, the website has a Facebook and Twitter page. One area where BookRenter excels is in fast shipping; BookRenter offers next day shipping, which can be very beneficial if you sign-up for a class after the semester has already started and you need to catch up with the readings.

ecampus4. eCampus. eCampus is unique because it combines social media with textbook rentals. When you sign-up for an eCampus account, you receive a special coupon code. Every time this code is used to rent textbooks, you receive a $5.00 credit. This is known as the eCampus Entourage program. You can share your code with all of your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites, and end up wracking up a ton of points. Your friends also benefit because when they use the code, they receive a five percent discount on their orders.

b&n5. Barnes & Noble. Barnes & Noble is the largest bookstore chain in the country and has been the top selling chain for the past six years. However, its quickly growing website also offers over one million titles, and a new line of campus bookstores called Barnes & Noble College Bookstores operates at 636 colleges and universities. B&N is now offering textbook rentals through on campus stores and its online site. B&N offers books at 42.5 percent of their store price, allowing students to save quite a bit of money.

campus-book-renter6. CollegeTextbookRentals has been renting out books since 2007. They’ve served students at over 5,000 college campuses. Not only do they ship in a timely manner, they also include a prepaid return envelope with every book they send, so you don’t even have to hunt around for packing materials when it’s time to return your books. Plus, they offer a book buying service.

college-book-renter7. CollegeBookRenter offers both book rentals and sales, in addition to a used book buy-back program. When it’s time to return your rented books, all you have to do is print out a shipping label.

There are many more rental companies that make it easy to find cheap textbooks, but these five are currently the most popular and trusted by students around the country. So, if you want to actually have some of the money your earned all summer left over after your trip to the bookstore, think about renting your textbooks next semester.

9 Responses to “The Best Textbook Rental Companies”

  1. Carol says:

    Renting may be a good option, but warning: Renting from B&N is a nightmare.
    Six telephone calls, three-plus hours on hold, late charges, an e-mail confirming that the book had been received and late charges reversed. A new e-mail saying they don’t have the book, more late charges and telephone calls. “Customer service” (I use the term loosely) saying they can’t confirm that a confirmation of receipt was sent. Plus they refused my offer to forward the confirmation of receipt e-mail back to them. I give up. I’m paying for the book because I can’t keep doing this. It just isn’t worth my time and energy any more. Will never, never, never rent from B&N again.

  2. Lisa says:

    I just found about renting textbooks. I went to

    I was able to save about $120 from the used prices at my campus bookstore. Shipping is free both ways and you are allowed to highlight/write in textbooks. Seems like a good deal to me!

  3. Evan says:


    It’s a bit of a stretch to say that not mentioning your services qualifies as “discounting” your stores. I do commend you on pointing out that websites typically don’t have as easy to use return policies as brick and mortar stores, but forgive me if I don’t take the company line from you (as you so vehemently accuse this blogger of doing) about college bookstores always having the required materials. Frequently these establishments get plundered long before the semester begins and have wait lists for weeks to get all the students supplied.

    As far as your last paragraph goes, I think it is woefully inaccurate to refer to one person’s personal account of a bookstore transaction as “sensationalism.” If it happened, it is factual. Is it statistically significant? Maybe not, but I think it’s pretty clear that those kind of studies are beyond the scope of this article. For someone so involved in the sale of books, I would think you could police your use of verbiage a little more. If you wish to solicit an interview and review of your own service you could probably have done so without attempting to discredit this article. This type of trashing an individual to become noticed belongs in tabloids and is not befitting of that fancy title you sign your comments with. I sincerely hope random blog posts with rampant “misinformation” don’t “distress” you too much, or I must believe that the internet is a large source of consternation for you and you would do well to avoid it completely.

    tl;dr : stop being a drama queen

    -someone who thinks that anyone who feels the need to sign an 8 word title shouldn’t bother posting on blogs anyway.

  4. Brandi says:

    Charles, thank you for visiting and sharing your thoughts. You mention that some 1500 bookstores will start renting this fall. We’ve yet to see any information on this, although I’d love to see if it you have it and will certainly share the news with our readers.

    I wanted to follow-up to let you know that Kelsey’s post was completely unbiased and based completely on her own experiences; that’s often the most relatable. While we do have some affiliate relationships with these rental companies, she was unaware of those when she wrote the story without any prompting.

    I have to say that my experience in school re: book buyback and bookstore fees definitely reflected what Kelsey said. I don’t ever recall getting a 50% return, it was usually enough to buy myself lunch and maybe a university t-shirt. In fact, my last year or two of college I exclusively bought all of my books online, avoiding the campus bookstores, and I saved over a thousand dollars. I was always able to get the books I needed for my classes and I was able to have them on time. As an added bonus, I was able to skip the buyback, sell them online and set my own price, often getting back the amount I’d paid originally.

    Curious if anyone out there has a textbook experience they’d like to share. Do you rent, buy from the bookstores, have good/bad/indifferent experience with buyback? Sound off and join the conversation!

    – Brandi Koskie, senior editor for

  5. Textbookguru says:

    While I commend the blogger for pointing out the rental option for textbooks, I am distressed that he-she is so biased and discounts the college store as a rental source. Not only does the college store offer students the best value on their required course materials, but more than 1,500 will be offering rental as an option during the fall 2010 school year.

    In addition, the college store is the most reliable source for the correct course materials a student needs. Only the college store guarantees it will have the correct edition and ancillary materials a student will need for all their courses. AND the college store has a fair, well-defined return policy in case a student drops a course.

    As to your buyback experience: You probably were offered that little for your Spanish text because 1) the faculty member either didn’t get their adoption in on time, 2) the edition adopted for next term was changed, or 3) you were late in trying to sell back your book. The industry average for buyback is 50% of the new book price.

    Kelsey, I realize you’re using sensationalism to try to grab readership, or maybe you’re just a shill for one of the online rental companies you recommend, but next time, instead of posting an item based on one bad experience and your personal bias, try doing a little research first to find out the facts. You actually are doing your readers more harm than the good (is assume) you intended by perpetuating rumours and misinformation. If you want to find out some facts, I’d be happy to talk to you.

    Charles Schmidt, Dir. of PR, National Assn. of College Stores

Leave a Reply


We help students find reviews on colleges, get help with student loan refinancing and other resourceful content to help students.

Social Links

© 2018