CAMPUS LIFE Victor the beaver's guide to the interwebs

MythBreakers Presents: Is Renting Cheaper Than Buying?

Jan 19 2010 at 3:57 pm by

No! You can save more money by buying and selling your textbooks at than by renting your textbooks. In a time where somber news reverberates across U.S. college campuses surrounding budget cuts, tuition hikes and decreasing aid programs, is on a mission to offer affordable education to students. One of the main ways you can save money is by cutting the cost of your college textbooks. We are committed to saving you money by providing cheap textbooks. We also think it’s important to provide you with information that will aid you in your search for affordable textbooks.

Part of this effort is debunking the myth that renting textbooks is cheaper than buying textbooks. After a weeklong comparison of prices from and four major textbook rental companies, the verdict is in. Buying and selling back on a marketplace such as can save you more money than renting.

Price comparisons from and the average rental prices from four major textbook rental companies on January 18th, 2010 show that you can save more money by buying and selling a textbook, than by renting it. The net cost of buying and selling Biology and Mastering Biology, ISBN 0321543254 on is $37.95, while the average cost of renting the same book is $81.29, a savings of $43.34. The same goes for Calculus:Early Transcendentals, ISBN 0495011665 with a savings of $35.23 as well as Consumer Behavior , ISBN 0136015964 with a savings of $35.16. An expanded list can be found below.


* Buy and Sell prices are based on available pricing on 1/18/2010 at 11:00 AM. All prices are subject to change at any time based on the actions of marketplace buyers and sellers. Renting prices are based on the average prices for available book rentals at 11:00 AM on 1/18/2010 from,, and Rental prices are based on the duration of one semester. All prices are subject to change at any time.

You can save even more money by listing your textbook for sale on the marketplace. Here, you are able to set your own price for the book, and get paid once the item sells. You can purchase Exploring Psychology, ISBN 0716771411 in good condition for $41.87 from the marketplace and then resell the item on the marketplace in the price range of $41.87-$63.00 when you are done using it. The net cost for the textbook could be nothing, and you could even make money on the transaction!

Since you can acquire your textbooks from several different outlets, it is important to shop around and find an option that best suits your budget.

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  1. Yes, some books are cheaper. But out of the 5 books that I needed for class, only one book was chepaer at valore than from the place I rented my books from.

  2. Anna, thanks for stopping by! We recommend shopping around and selecting an option that is best for you and your budget. Please remember, that when you are done with the textbooks you purchase off of, you can sell them back through our sell back program, or set your own price by listing them on our marketplace. This often saves students more money than renting, especially when you have the ability to set your own price.

  3. I always comparison shopped when looking for textbooks ( I comparison shop for everything). I decided to rent a textbook for one of my classes because it was the cheapest way to get the book. I rented the book well before class started to allow for ample time. The book never came. I called the rental place only to be told that the book was out of stock. They never bothered to get in touch with me to tell me I wouldn’t be getting the book, but they did bother to charge my credit card for a book I was never getting. Obviously, I was not renting the book for some light reading, I was renting it because I needed it. Common courtesy would have been to let the customer know immediately that the book was not available, but I had to call them to find out. Then, I had to wait a week for my money to be put back in my bank account. That caused a huge headache because I didn’t have the money to buy the book since it was tied up with the rental place. I’m lucky my professor was understanding enough to let me start class without the book or I’d have been up the creek. That was, needless to say, my first and only experience with renting a textbook. I’ve been very successful with buying my books used and then selling them back after class ends. I even lucked out once and made a 100% profit selling the book!

  4. Thank you for the information Amber! Buying and selling textbooks on a marketplace like is cheaper than renting because you can set your own price! Great to hear that you made money on your book! Many students fail to recognize that they can do the same. Cheers to a great semester!

  5. Generally I do not post on blogs, but I would like to say that this post really forced me to do so! really nice post.