Dear Students,

The annual visit to the college bookstore can be a depleting experience for your wallet and trying to find used books is a nearly impossible task. In many instances, when students do find used books in good condition, the tome has been discontinued and an entirely new book is required for the current year’s curriculum.

Many students are opting to rent their books instead of buying. A number of sites have cropped up

online that offer books on a wildly diverse range of college subjects. However, the term rental isn’t entirely accurate and books aren’t rented in the traditional sense of the word. Students who choose this route will pay a one-time fee for the books, albeit at a significantly reduced cost

Traditionally, the campus bookstore provided students with a means of selling their used books and recouping a portion of their monetary outlay. Campus bookstores still claim to have a limited supply of used books, but as any college student can tell you, those used books are almost non-existent and are beginning to take on the proportions of an urban legend.

Textbooks represent a large financial investment, and the online rental websites do provide a means for students to save on their books, even if they’re not actually renting them. It’s all a matter of perspective. Some websites claim to be able to save students up to $500 a year on textbooks – an excellent deal any way you look at it.

Renting textbooks provides a very attractive alternative for those who are homeschooled who may be on a very limited budget. An added bonus is that, in some instances, a book rented this year can be used again in the home school community for even bigger savings. It’s also an advantage for parents with multiple children attending college.

Unfortunately, the purveyors of textbooks often change the editions from year to year. Sometimes the information is truly updated, but sometimes the new editions contain the same information, while simply sporting a shiny new cover and rearranged lessons. For those classes, renting books is a real boon. However, the advances in some fields do require updated as new developments arise and it may be wiser to buy new books.

If you feel there’s no appreciable difference in the old and new books, or that the differences aren’t going to affect your education adversely, renting can save you some much-needed cash. At the end of class, students can often sell the books back to the online rental stores and recoup some of their investment.

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Renting textbooks can make a difference in your education