Renting Textbooks … Is It for You (and Yours)?

Digital art by Idea go*

The most expensive textbook I had to purchase in college cost $29, if memory serves. I think on average I was probably spending about $15 per book, so the most expensive one was about twice the normal cost. In the late 1960’s it was a jaw-dropping amount. The shock of it was good for at least a week of conversations with other students before other topics took over, like which fraternity party to go to the next weekend. Also, I was too busy studying the near-thousand-page book’s chapters, all in small type in a black-and-white format that held no photographs and lots of chemical equations. I think it was a neuroscience text.

Textbooks in general have become hugely more user friendly but also have continued to rise in cost, and now a comparable text to my $29 one might come in at $100. Some texts come in upward of $150 but they contain more color and artwork than the one I had to suffer with.

There was a bookstore near my college that did offer used textbooks, but the book I needed was not there. It may have been a new publication, or the students who had used it the prior year decided it was too valuable to them to sell back (most of these students were pre-med). But at least for many courses, a used book was an option, along with all the underlining and marginal notes (“who gives a damn?” and “so what?”) students are prone to making. Well, I was anyway.

Enter, stage right, today’s latest idea for saving money on textbooks: rent ’em! If you’re interested in details insofar as one website offers, click here. There are probably others, but this is the one that promoted itself into my inbox one day. I’m so happy I already have my degree.

*digital artist’s website link: Idea go /
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