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Advantages and Disadvantages of Renting Textbooks

Making the right decision by becoming informed

Renting can sometimes be a viable option to buying textbooks, but how do you know if it’s right for you? When making the decision to rent your books instead of buy them, there are definitely some advantages and disadvantages that can factor into the equation.It’s almost always cheaper to rent textbooks, even if you normally purchase used books. That being said, there are some things that can get you into hot water when you rent and eventually cost you more money than buying a new book will. For example, you can normally highlight or write in the margins, but torn covers or water damaged books are assessed an additional penalty. You should also make sure the term of the rental is long enough so you can avoid late fees, especially if you are renting from an online bookstore.

When renting textbooks, you won’t be able to sell them for additional cash at the end of the semester. It’s smart to estimate how much you could sell a book for so you can determine if you will truly save money by renting. You should also find out if the book is used for more than one class, because renting a textbook twice could actually cost more than buying it. Finally, think about whether you might want to keep the book as a reference guide once the course is over.  Many legal and medical students rely on college textbooks to help them in the workplace after graduation. In this instance, buying materials rather than renting them is a long-term investment for many people.