Get over textbook sticker shock with this budget hack

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The school year has officially started, which means you’ve probably already experienced the sticker shock of this year’s textbooks prices. Did you know there’s an alternative? Textbook rentals.

Textbook rentals are an easy way to get access to the books you need without paying a ton of money upfront. For students living paycheck to paycheck, buying textbooks can feel like an obstacle.

If you’re looking for a way around the high prices at your college, textbook rentals could be the right choice for you. Textbook rentals are usually much cheaper than buying them outright, and typically, most online stores have different versions of the textbooks to choose from. So, you can find the version your professor requested without a problem.

A lot of students see the surplus of textbook rental options and give up. Not knowing which one is the best leaves them dependent on their college campus and the exorbitant prices.

That doesn’t have to be you. We’ve rounded up some of the best textbook rental options out there so you can find the one that’s best for you and say goodbye to your college bookstore forever.


You might already know Chegg, they’ve been around for a while and love to help students save as much as possible on textbooks. Here are some of the reasons students are choosing Chegg over their college bookstore when it comes to purchasing textbooks.

  • Not only do you get a physical version of the textbook, but you can also read a digital version that gets delivered right after you order. No more waiting for your textbook to arrive to get started with your reading.
  • They offer free online tutoring. Need help with a homework question? they have 24/7 tutoring for FREE (up to 30 minutes). So if you’re in a bind, you can get your questions answered fast.


Ah, good ol’ Amazon. Their textbook rental services are pretty comprehensive compared to other options. Which is why they stand near number one on every textbook list. Here are just a few of the reasons you might want to consider renting from Amazon.

  • You choose your rental period and only pay for what you actually need.
  • They tend to be the cheapest option.
  • Access your rentals through the Kindle app on your smartphone, tablet, or computer.
  • The X-Ray feature allows you to look up words, translate phrases, and search the internet for info. 
  • Got an old textbook you want to get rid of? Amazon might give you a gift card for it.

Campus Book Rentals

Campus Book Rentals sits somewhere at the top of a lot of lists as well. The reason being that it’s a little more lenient with shipping and returns compared to other places. Here are some of the highlights.

  • While not usually cheaper than Amazon, it does seem to have the cheapest prices after them.
  • Free shipping to you and free shipping on your return.
  • You can actually treat them as if it’s your own and highlight passages as much as you want.
  • Large selection of textbooks with various versions available.


Not interested in using a huge company and dealing with returns and exchanges? Great! Student2Student might be an option for you. Here are just a few of the reasons that this option sits at the top.

  • You get your textbooks directly from other students on your college campus.
  • There are no transaction fees or credit cards.
  • You don’t have to worry about shipping or returns.

Whatever you decided to do, renting your textbooks can help you save money in the long run. You don’t waste the textbook by never using it again, and you only pay for the time you spent with it. 

Each of these companies come with their own rules for rental textbooks. So, before you commit, make sure to read the fine print, so you don’t violate any of the rules and lose out on money anyway.

That being said, renting textbooks can put a stop to that sticker shock. So, it’s definitely worth considering.