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This guide serves as a resource to help students explore their options when finding, renting, and buying textbooks.

Renting vs. Buying Textbooks

Pros of Buying

  • You can keep the books and use them as a reference for your future classes and career
  • No worries about highlighting too much – it is YOUR textbook
  • You can sell your books and get some money back
  • Used textbooks and eTextbooks could be an option – more affordable than buying a brand new book.

Cons of Buying

  • Usually the most expensive option
  • You may not use the book that much, so it may end up being an inefficient use of money
  • If you buy and don’t sell, you’ll have to worry about storing the books
  • If you sell it back, you may not receive a fair amount of what you paid for it
  • The hassle of selling may not be worth what you get back

Pros of Renting

  • Probably the most affordable option
  • Easy returns – online or in store
  • If you think your book will be a useful reference in the future, you could possibly buy it

Cons of Renting

  • Cannot mark in the book as much as you may like
  • If you end up finding the book useful, you may not be able to buy it
  • If you don’t return the book in a similar condition, you may have to pay an extra fee or even be charged full price for the book

You can rent/buy your textbooks from many websites, including:

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Consider the pros and cons of buying vs. renting for each book required by your classes. You may want to buy some books to help refresh your memory later, but books for basic courses may not be as useful in the long term. Whatever you choose, make sure it makes sense financially and academically.


Liz. (2018, August 27). Should you buy or rent your textbooks?

Textbook Rental Websites