The top performers in our review are Campus Book Rentals, the Gold Award winner; BookRenter, the Silver Award winner; and Amazon, the Bronze Award winner. Here’s more on choosing a textbook rental service to meet your needs, along with details on how we arrived at our ranking of 10 products.
If you’re like most college students, you’re operating on a limited budget. When you add up tuition, meals, rent, student fees and all the other expenses that accompany a higher education, you will want to find ways to cut costs. Pricey textbooks could potentially break the bank by adding a considerable expense to your monthly bills. It’s an expense that you can drastically reduce by taking advantage of a textbook rental service. A good online textbook rental service will let you rent the book for a couple weeks or an entire semester at rates that are much lower than it would cost to buy the book.
You may ask: What are the advantages of renting a textbook over buying one and selling it back to the campus store when you are done? The majority of college students have employed this method in the past. While this is a viable option, there are problems with it. Sometimes you can’t sell your textbook back because a new edition is being released and the bookstore isn’t interested in buying your edition back. Plus, even if you are able to sell the book back, renting can save you more money in the long-run.
If you’re looking to buy books online, there are many options for purchasing new and used books through online booksellers. However, textbooks are specialized books. Anyone who has tried to find the right textbook at a local library knows they can be hard to find. College students will want to read our online textbook rental reviews to make an informed decision about which rental service is best for them. Instead of purchasing a book that you will likely only need once, you can choose to rent your books from a selection of respectable websites for a fraction of the cost. Be sure to read our articles on textbook rentals online.
We did a comprehensive comparison of textbook services online to determine which ones had the best services for college students looking to save money. The best textbook services give you a wide variety of rental options, letting you rent the book for a month, if that’s all the time you need, or an entire semester. Many will allow you to highlight sections of the book or let you write minimally in the margins. Like a campus bookstore, most rental services also give you the option of buying textbooks and then selling them back. The textbook services with the best overall package are ranked highest on our list.
Many factors come into play when considering textbook rentals online. Among website-specific qualities, like a rich feature set and ease of use, you should look for various shipping and renting methods, as well as helpful customer support options. Here's a breakdown of what to look for when considering textbook rentals online.
Most rental services provide textbooks on a pay-per-book basis; other services deliver textbooks via a monthly subscription fee. Either way, a good textbook rental service should offer customers various rental options, including flexible per-book rental periods and tiered monthly plans. The best rental services will give you a wide array of options when it comes to rental periods, allowing you to rent a book for 30 days or even less, or up to an entire semester. You should be able to attain rental extensions easily, along with rent-to-buy and sell-back options. Depending on your own study habits and preferences, you might appreciate a lenient highlighting policy, or you might want to look for more stringent quality-control standards.
A clean, streamlined website helps you easily search for your needed textbooks. You should be able to find the book you need quickly, and if there is a problem, help should be available to answer your questions. Some services have a live-chat option that pops up on the main webpage so you can ask questions in real time as you are searching for the textbooks you need.
A textbook does not do you any good if it's stuck in the mail. Multiple shipping options (e.g. standard, express and overnight) make it easy for you to get your books on time. If you can plan far enough ahead to allow for standard shipping, it works to your budget’s advantage. However, there are times when you need a book quickly, so having the option of express or overnight shipping is a nice convenience, even though you’ll have to pay more. Order tracking is also a welcome feature, so you'll never have to wonder where your books are.
Help & Support
If you have any questions about a price, policy or any other service, a quality textbook rental company will take the time to answer your questions fully and completely. Availability of customer service representatives via phone, email and live chat provides support when FAQs don’t have the answers. Having the option of real-time support when searching for the textbooks, through an easily accessible live-chat option, is a great convenience. Also, you should keep an eye out for companies with Facebook and Twitter integration.
We identified the best textbook rental services out there. The best options we found were Campus Book Rentals, BookRenter and Skyo. They each have a lot to offer in terms of rental services, easy ordering and shipping options.
Campus Book Rentals, our Gold Award winner, has the most complete package of options of any service out there, which includes an insurance option, free shipping and a 15-day grace period at the end of the rental period. BookRenter, our Silver Award winner, provides a great overall rental experience with a very user-friendly website and an excellent selection of textbooks. Our Bronze winner, Skyo, has a program that lets you accrue extra credit points so you can save even more on its textbooks.
Another textbook service, eCampus, deserves an honorable mention. It is one of the more affordable textbook services with a unique distinction of offering international shipping. If you’re a student on a tight budget, saving money on textbook costs will go far in helping you meet expenses from one month to the next. Our textbook rental online reviews will help you make an informed decision about which service will best suit your needs. You should look for a fully featured service with a professional website, flexible shipping options and helpful customer support to create a quality textbook rental experience that will save you money.
These are the focus points of our evaluation of online textbook rental companies. Fully featured services, professional websites, flexible shipping options and helpful customer support all coalesce into creating a quality textbook rental experience that can save you money.