Smart Students Rent Textbooks.

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I remember how expensive college was–mostly because I’m still paying for it. In fact one of the loans I’m paying back to my University was taken out for college textbooks, equipment, and lab fees. And it was not a small loan. Every time month, when it’s time to pay, I am not smiling.

So when I began considering going back to school, I was most interested in finding ways to make it affordable, now that I have a family to feed. I was also looking for a way to make it easier. My plan is to go back to school online–so where would I find my textbooks? Even the thought of going to a traditional college bookstore sounds bad to me. Not only is it usually overpriced–have you ever been to one of those stores at the start of a semester? Crowded, noisy, pushy, and time consuming–none of which a mom of a toddler feels like dealing with after work or on her day off. I could go to a large online bookstore and buy them, but that isn’t always the cheapest way either.

textbook rentalWhen I found the option of, I smiled for the first time. It was a way for me to rent textbooks at a 40-90% discount, delivered right to my door free of charge. No fighting with pushy college students while pushing a stroller–hallelujah!

What I especially loved was that while it’s true I was renting the books, I could write and highlight in them–something I need to do while studying! Yet another reason to smile. And with flexible rental periods, even if I attend a school with a non-traditional start date, my books will be ready for me.

But you know me, scientifically curious–I had to do an experiment. I looked up a textbook for a class similar to the one I anticipate taking soon. I then compared it with the prices on and here is what I found:

Book title: SINGLE-CASE RESEARCH DESIGNS (for grad Psychology classes)
ISBN: 9780195341881
My Brick-and-Mortar Alma Mater’s price: $41.85 (used) to $92.65 (new)
A large online book store: $57.15 (rent) to $83.86 (new) $27.51 (130 day rental)

Now I’m really smiling!! What a huge price difference–and I can get all of my textbooks without leaving my house. Fabulous!

But what if someone bought a textbook already? What if I wanted to buy my textbook because I knew as a professional I might want to reference it later? Contrary to freshman students’ belief, some textbooks are worth keeping. Well the sister Operation Smilesite is yet another reason to smile!

With I could keep the textbook that I want to own, but make money off it by renting it to other students. And I remember the pitiful offerings of the bookstore for my textbooks. Sometimes I’d be so mad at what they offered I’d keep the books because I felt like I was being robbed. But not with Not only do you retain ownership of the book–but you’ll actually make 2-4 times MORE money than selling it the bookstore! Sounds like a win all around, and another reason to be chessin’!

And you might wonder why I keep referencing smiling. It’s because and are my kind of business–ones that give back. A portion of every book rental from goes towards Operation Smile. And allows you to donate any portion of your earns to the worthy cause.

If you don’t know about Operation Smile, an organization that provides free surgery to children around the globe to correct cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities, you really should check them out. And you can learn more about and’s commitment to Operation Smile on their website.

And if you’re looking for a smart way to get the books you’ll need for college, or make some money off of the books you own, do like me and check out and!

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  • Aisha

    When I was in college my friends used to rent books too.

  • Rebecca Swenor

    This is awesome indeed. I love the savings you get with is amazing and the cause they support, Operation smile is amazing. Thanks for sharing.

  • bloggingastrid

    Great review. Indeed this is much cheaper than a regular brick-and-mortar or online bookstore. When I was in college, I needed my textbooks in an adaptive format so usually borrowed them at the library for the blind, which was pretty cheap too. Then again, they’re not as flexible and they have to have the book you need available.

  • mail4rosey

    My hubby rents sometimes and he saves a fortune when he does too. I think it’s a great idea.

  • Freya

    What an awesome idea. This will definitely help a lot of students as books are so expensive.

  • Meeks

    I like the idea of rent back. I have a couple of books here now I can offer to college students. The power of a blog is amazing! I always find something useful and I can use right away at least three times a week. Again, Thank you and I’m already on rent back.

  • Bonnie Gowen @WEMAKE7

    I’ve heard a lot of great things about Campus rentals. Wished I would have known about them back when I was in college.

  • Marie Moody

    Trying to put a comment, and it won’t let me so one more time. Great Post and highly informative. Love the idea of rentals.

  • @weareofficially

    That is so true! I am going to suggest this to my husband who always buy new books! Grrr! Trying to save here!

  • Laura

    I think rentals is quite smart. Would have been helpful for me!

  • MichelleMOTM

    This is the way to go. Smart and frugal .. who can argue with that?

  • Katrina DeOliveira

    book prices are ridiculous! I rented my books a couple times last semester

  • Marielle Altenor

    Going to head over there now! I have some books that I would love to see how much they are worth.

  • Kath Rivera

    Books are expensive here in our country so it’s better to invest if you have the money. But the rentals can save and help the students to budget their money for books and other school related fund.

  • hannah staveley

    Very interesting post , help save lots of money.x

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  • Rachel

    Man, I would love to go back to school! Online or otherwise. But, yes, textbooks are crazy pricey!

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  • Robin Rue

    I wish this had been an option back when I was in college. I would have saved a fortune.

  • yonawilliams

    My stepson had a very good experience using a textbook rental company…not sure if it was this one or not. Free shipping back to them when he was done! When i was in college, these options did not exist. If they did…i would definitely have used it.

  • Kori

    I’m back in school now and the expense for books is ridiculous. I rented all but one of my books this year and I saved a ton.

  • jeanna

    books in general are expensive, texts are nuts. this is a great option

  • Ourfamilyworld

    Books are so expensive and students loans are still killing my budget. This is a great option and love their discount prices

  • Motivating Mommy

    YUP! Rental is the way to go unless it’s something you KNOW you’ll need again and again. I have a few colleagues who rented and I myself in the past too! This is a wonderful resource that I’ll have to pass on!

  • Two Boys and a Hubby

    I wish this was around when I was in school!

  • Sojourner Walker

    I wish this were around when I was in school. I’d buy my books used when I could, but they were still overpriced!

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