Students battle high textbook prices with semester-long rental programs

Posted September 23, 2013


Concerned with increasing prices for textbooks, many now at $100 to $200 each, textbook renting seems to be the new trend among university and college students.

“It’s cheaper and I don’t need them after the course is over,” Sydney Wollman, a freshman at the University of Miami, said of how renting books is helping her save money.

Starting college may be a little bit overwhelming for many when it comes to finding cheaper options to get textbooks for classes. Buying a new or used textbook is the not the only choice available anymore, however; is the last one many are seeking.

Wollman says that she saved more than $250 by renting her books including English, Math and business.

“I could have gotten the English textbook at the bookstore for $160, but I looked online and I rented it for only $50 and I couldn’t be happier,” she said.

The UM Bookstore is not the only place that students are looking at to rent books from. Websites such as, and are some of the long list that promise savings of up to 80 percent from the normal stock price.

The book, “Introduction to Comparative Politics,” is listed everywhere at its normal stock price of $197.50.  However, anybody can rent it online from for at least $39.99 for a four-month rental period. In other words, those are savings of almost $160 by just searching online.

“Why buy books when you can save lots of money for gas and food?” asked Alexis McDonald, a freshman and an electronic media major who thinks that saving money should be a key priority for all new college students.

McDonald, who rented her “Head’s Broadcasting in America” textbook, says she got it from for only $44.

“I think the rest of students should not buy books, you are only going to use them once,” she said.

According to the UM Bookstore book sales staff, anybody who is renting a book will be asked to put a credit card number on file. If the book is not returned on the due date, the credit card will be charged with a non-return fee as well as a processing fee. For instance, if the book costs $190 and you rent it for $50 and you never return it, your credit card will be charged with the rest of the book price plus a 10 percent processing fee.

David Cramer, a junior at UM, whose experience in the book rental is not new, says this only means responsibility.

“This has two sides, you rent the book, then you use it. But you better return if you don’t want to be fined,” he said. “Do your research. There are many places out there where you can save even hundreds of dollars worth of your time.”

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