Are students saving money by renting their textbooks?

by Alcharles Castillo 1,459 views0

The professor just dismissed class and handed-out a five-page syllabus with one important task: make sure to have the required textbook.

It is your freshman year at COC, and you remembered that your first-year promise came with a $100 voucher to the book store. Should you rent or buy that required textbook, on campus or off campus? 

Glizeth Soto just finished her first year at COC and was fortunate enough to have her father help with the choice on how to get her textbooks. 

“My understanding on the options given to me about getting books is the same as it was before college,” said Soto. “I haven’t looked much into it other than what I already know since it works for me.” 

Students are not always as fortunate to have someone help them with the important expense of books. 

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I just looked them up to get an idea of prices,” said Samantha Escobar, COC student. 

Escobar had done what most freshman students do when they are not sure of something, they search the internet to help them find some answers. 

One of the answers is Chegg, an online service that is making it easier and more affordable for students to buy, rent and even sell their textbooks. 

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“Figuring out how and where you get your books, while an expensive decision, it’s also one that is not given a lot of thought,” said AJ Goldman, vice president of required materials at Chegg. 

Most first-year college students have the pressure of moving into their dorms or apartments, meeting new people and attending classes, but they’re not given information on how or where they should spend their money for textbooks.  

“For first-year students, the best marketing channel we have to teach students the benefits and drawbacks of renting and buying is their friends,” said Goldman. “Potentially, people in their class who have been there before, or brothers and sisters.” 

According to the COC bookstore website, a full-time student that buys their textbooks brand new would cost them $455.70, if they chose to buy those books used it would be $370.95 and if they wanted to rent those books used it would be $284.85. 

“Eighty to 90 percent of the time it would be cheaper than buying a used textbook,” said Goldman.  

But the savings on your textbooks does not have to stop at just the COC bookstore.  

The Book Exchange, a Santa Clarity store privately owned by COC alumni Taylor Kellstrom, gives COC students a space where they can have their peers help with the renting or selling of books. 

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“It’s always cheaper to rent, but we always consult with students because, if it’s their major, it’s probably better to buy that book,” said Kellstrom. 

Both Chegg and The Book Exchange, require registration for renting. After students finish setting up their account, they will search for the required textbook with either the name and edition of the book or simply put the International Standard Book Number for the textbook. After putting their payment information and hitting submit payment, this is where the process for renting from Chegg or The Book Exchange is different. 

If rented through Chegg, students can expect their books within 1 to 10 business days, depending on the shipping option chosen. 

If students went local and rented with The Book Exchange, there are different options on how they could get their book. The fastest option is to do an in-store pickup which is free. 

After the semester comes to an end students need to return the textbooks either back in store to The Book Exchange or by dropping it off at their local UPS with Chegg’s prepaid return label and any box laying around that could fit the book inside of it. Also, make sure to return the books on time, if not, there are late fees from both companies. 

Chegg offers leniency to students by giving them one late fee extension of ten days before charging the student a second time with the whole price of the book. 

The Book Exchange urges students that will be returning their books late to call ahead of time to extend their due date by a week and the students will not be charged an extra fee for the extension. 

But if the textbooks are returned on time students should have no worries for those late fees or having to sell the textbooks because it’s already out of their hands. The process of renting has a few more steps than buying, but students can save money for other important expenses. 

“If it’s a book that you don’t think you’re gonna actually open up again after the class, it doesn’t really make much sense to buy it,” notes Kellstrom.

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