Monday, August 18, 2008

Rent your college text books

The cost of going to college has been skyrocketing for years.  Part of that cost includes the cost of the text books one has to buy for the classes.  Many of these books weigh a ton, are impossible to comprehend and you will never use again them after the class ... but you are REQUIRED to have them. 

For decades, college bookstores have had a policy of buying back your used text books (at a small fraction of the original cost) and then selling them back to other students (for a large fraction of the original cost.)  Those bookstore people knew what they are doing. 

Well, the bookstore people no longer have a monopoly on selling you your textbooks.  There are several ways that you can now save a bundle on your text books.

One can always check on the standard book buying sites:
amazon.com
ebay.com
half.com

You might also find a deal on craigslist.com  (make sure that you use my earlier tip on how to search all the craigslists at once.)

However, there is a new text book game in town.  You can now RENT your text books.

Why would you want to rent your textbooks?  For a bunch of reasons (say the sites):
Save paper = save trees = save planet
Cheaper price (yes, some of these books are dirt cheap)
You don't have to feel obligated to shelve, dust, pack and move the text book for the rest of your life because you spent more on it than you did for your first car.

Make SURE that you read all the fine print on these sites.  It is important that the books are guaranteed to have all the CDs and special codes you need for full access to the info that is part of this text book.  A lot of books now have websites that go with them and you need a code to unlock the site.  Also check out the information on due dates, extra fees, shipping costs, damages, etc.

Here are my favorite three text book rental sites:
campusbookrentals.com
bookrenter.com
chegg.com

As a special note, on some of these sites, you can even buy gift certificates.  What a great gift for a high school graduation present.

And, of course, if you already have text books, you aren't using and won't ever use again, cluttering up your shelves, you can sell these books on the same sites.