Hey you, are you thinking about renting a textbook? Are you stuck wondering if that’s a good idea or not? Or perhaps you need to weigh the pros and cons before deciding. It doesn’t matter because we’re here to help you decide for good.
They say the best way to choose is to weigh its pros against its cons. In other words, before doing something, you must decide if the perks you enjoy are enough to compensate for the apparent downsides. And trust us, in the case of renting textbooks, there’s no difference.
Should you rent textbooks online, and check out the best-priced offers with websites like BookScouter? Or should you go for the old-fashioned method of purchasing them online or in a brick-and-mortar college bookstore? Let’s find out.
To Rent or To Buy? Understanding The Reasons Behind Both Choices
Now, before we discover what option will serve you better, have you ever wondered what drives people to rent textbooks? At the same time, what could drive people to stick to buying books every year?
Why Do People Buy Textbooks?
Entering a new school or going higher in class requires a list of requirements. One such condition is to acquire the recommended texts for your courses. How else are you going to study for classes and exams if you don’t have the “bible” for that course?
And that leads people to the most obvious choice – buy new textbooks. “Can’t they just borrow these textbooks from their seniors?” Well, that would be feasible, but for the fact that lecturers will recommend you buy the latest editions. Therefore, you have to acquire these texts fresh from the publisher’s oven.
Why Do People Rent Textbooks Online?
Now, onto why students would instead rent books from online stores. It’s not every time you need to buy the latest edition book. Students need to save costs, and reducing their spending on books is a great money saver.
But is that enough reason for you to join the textbook renting pack? We’ve highlighted the significant benefits of renting textbooks for you to decide. We’ve also exposed the most telling disadvantages, so you know what you’re in for.
Pros Of Renting Textbooks Online
1. It’s A Cheaper Alternative
We start with the essential perks students enjoy. Firstly, did you know students spend up to $1500 on textbooks every session? Bet you had no idea they were that costly. Well, now you do. Now you know one of the reasons why students end up with sizeable student loans and debts.
So, to circumvent this cycle of spending more than they earn, students need a cheap alternative. And that’s where textbook rental comes in. By renting textbooks online, you only pay a fraction of what you do for new textbooks.
And the best part is you still get the texts you need in clean and pristine condition. Also, you don’t have to worry about the information because they’re all there.
2. It Saves You from A Book Crisis
As a student, your most prized possessions will always be the notes you make and the textbooks you own. However, at the end of every semester comes the question of what happens to all the accumulated materials.
You need space for newer texts, so getting rid of the old ones becomes a necessary course of action. What if you can’t sell them off? Do you just toss them away after all you’ve spent? Certainly not. Ultimately, you’re either left with a pile of books you’ll never need again, or you might have to cut your losses and give them away.
However, renting textbooks online allows you to avoid that tragic dilemma. Online textbook rentals come with deadlines, so you’ll always return them once you’re done. No need to hold on to textbooks you no longer need.
3. It’s More Convenient
There’s no student who doesn’t want to avoid as much stress as possible. Whether it’s attending lectures, coming up with project topics, or planning the next meal, no one wants a stressful process. Similarly, no student wants their textbook procuring process to be complicated.
But can you really avoid the stress of visiting multiple bookstores searching for your desired books? What about the rigorous task of sourcing funds to afford the recommended text? Or, worst of all, what do you do when you’re required to acquire a specific textbook edition? Buying textbooks doesn’t seem so simple again, does it?
On the other hand, thanks to online platforms that provide textbook rental programs, you can now rent any book online without breaking a sweat. In essence, you don’t need to scout the entire bookstore multiverse before getting the textbook you need. Just choose a book to rent online, sit back, and wait for your package to be delivered.
4. It’s More Eco-Friendly
At first glance, you may wonder what your studies have to do with the ecosystem. How does buying textbooks affect the state of the environment? The simple answer is that the higher the demand for new texts, the larger the carbon footprint we leave.
There’s a lot of manufacturing and transportation that goes on with every book publication. Also, the forest is the biggest victim due to the need for paper, alongside other resources. So, to put it in other words, you’ll be doing the earth a favor by renting your textbooks online.
5. You Don’t Need to Keep the Book in Pristine Condition
Remember that these textbooks are rented, not bought. In other words, their cycle in your dorm revolves around their use only. You don’t need to treat those rented texts like crates of eggs. After all, you didn’t buy these textbooks; why must you keep them pristine?
Therefore, do not stress yourself trying to wrap your books up or looking for the best shelves to stack them in. You’re going to return them anyway. Since you won’t be selling them in the end, you don’t have to go overboard trying to preserve their value.
This primarily benefits students with huge workloads and no time or strength for extra work.
Cons Of Renting Textbooks Online
We’ve looked at the reasons why you should hop on the textbook rental bandwagon. Now, it’s time we discussed the various downsides to this method of acquiring textbooks.
1. The Book Isn’t Yours
On the one hand, when you rent textbooks, they’re not a significant responsibility, so there’s no need to be meticulous about them. On the other hand, they’re also not yours, so you can only keep them within the fixed deadline. What happens if you need those same textbooks for future studies? How, then, do you gain access to them?
But if you must keep those texts longer, you’ll have to pay for them. When you contact the online textbook rental site to extend your deadline, you’ll be required to pay a “late-return” fee. Or, in the case where you want to keep these texts, then you’ll have to pay the “never-return” fine.
At the end of the day, you incur more costs when you try to extend your deadline or own the books permanently. Ultimately, you’re more or less purchasing the textbook at this point.
2. You Can’t Make Money from The Textbooks
The only savings you make come from the disparity in the costs of buying and renting textbooks. Asides from that, you’re pretty much just spending on books. So, even though you save funds upfront through textbook rental, you can’t make this money back since you have to return the books.
This is quite the downside because when you buy textbooks, you can at least make part of the money back by selling them at the end of the session.
3. The Deadlines Are Tricky
With every textbook rental comes a fixed deadline. And the same way your lecturers don’t tolerate tardiness, textbook rentals, too, come with fines that you pay for late returns. As much as 10% of students don’t meet deadlines and have to pay a fixed fine regardless of when they eventually return them, even if it’s a day late.
In the end, when you fail to meet deadlines, the fines you have to pay will have you wishing you had just purchased those books instead. Also, you should remember that you don’t incur penalties only for missing deadlines; you also get fined for returning the books in poor condition.
If you return the book in a ravaged manner, be prepared to incur even extra fines. Imagine if you were unlucky to return the books in terrible condition after the deadline; yikes!
Looking For a Book to Rent? BookScouter Got You Covered
If you’re looking for where to buy or rent textbooks, look no further because BookScouter.com has all you need. With over 30 vendors, students can compare prices of books, both new and used and discover the best. Also, with an extensive library, you can search for a recommended edition through the ISBN database to make your search easier and faster.
So, when you look at the two sides to renting textbooks online and finally decide, BookScouter will help you with your first order.