As a college student, I hated buying textbooks at the beginning of each semester. For one, it seemed like half my instructors updated their course requirements to a new textbook version every year. I always felt like it was a giant conspiracy, forcing us to buy new books, instead of borrowing from a friend or purchasing a used book.
And then there was the sell-your-book-back option. Sell your $50 textbook for $8 or your $100 book for $15 (okay, it’s been a few years, so maybe that’s not quite accurate, but it’s something ridiculous like that, right?). Then the school, bookstore, or company turns around and sells the used textbook for at least twice what they paid you for it.
E-books are cheaper (in my experience) than traditional textbooks, but I do not like using an e-textbook. To save money in grad school, I did purchase a couple, but I found it much hardier to study and research. Maybe it’s because I’m “old school,” but I like having my finger in one chapter, my thumb in another, and my pinkie in a third.
CampusBookRentals is a company I’ve heard a lot about in recent years. I’m not sure if they existed when I was in college, but I never heard about them back then anyway.
At CampusBookRentals, students typically save 40 to 90 percent off bookstore prices. Shipping is free, both to and from the student. Rental periods are flexible, and (this is a big one for me) you can highlight in the textbooks.
They also have a new program called RentBack. Basically, you ship your no longer needed textbooks to CampusBookRentals. They will rent your book to a student, and then another, and so on. Every time someone rents your book, you get paid.
One thing that always stands out to me about a company is how philanthropic they are. For each textbook you rent, CampusBookRentals donates to Operation Smile. CampusBookRentals has committed to donating a minimum of 80 additional surgeries between June 2013 and June 2014.
If you’re unfamiliar with Operation Smile, it’s an international charity that provides what are often life-saving surgeries to children born with a cleft palate. Across the globe, a child is born with a cleft palate. One in 10 of those little ones will die before his or her first birthday, and the children that survive have difficulty eating, socializing, speaking, or even smiling. Some cultures shun or reject them. Operation Smile has provided more than 200,000 free surgeries for children and young adults.
Have you heard of Operation Smile before? Would you consider renting your textbooks instead of buying?
Note: I was compensated for this post; however, any opinions stated are mine and my alone.