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The spring semester is upon us, and that means it’s book renting season again. This semester, don’t get ripped off by the inflated prices at your university bookstore. Instead, try renting your books from BookRenter.

There are some tried-and-true tips for saving money 3 Tried-And-True Tips For Buying Cheap Textbooks 3 Tried-And-True Tips For Buying Cheap Textbooks The start of my fall semester classes is approaching faster than I want, marking the inevitable end of a spectacular summer for me. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the process of getting ready for... Read More on textbook rentals, but renting online is one of the first things you should learn to do as a freshman. Thankfully, BookRenter‘s website is simple, easy to use, and they have a wide selection of textbooks with fast shipping.

From now until February 28, get 5% off 3 or more book rentals through this promotional link. Plus, you’ll save enough money to buy fifty more cups of ramen.

Finding Books

This is the easy part. First, just make a list of all the books that you’ll need this semester. My favorite method for doing this is keeping a list in Google Keep, an incredibly simple note-taking service with a quality Android app Simple Notes On The Go: Google Keep For Android Reviewed Simple Notes On The Go: Google Keep For Android Reviewed There are some amazing note-taking apps out there, but here's one that merits a closer look: Google Keep, a note-keeper which has both a great-looking Android app and a slick webapp. Read More .

BookRenter-Homepage

Once you’ve got your list, just search BookRenter using either the title, author, or ISBN. I prefer to search by ISBN because it ensures that you’re getting the exact copy of the book that the teacher has requested, right down to the edition.

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It’s also smart to make an account to keep track of all the books that you’ve rented and when they’re due. The system for creating an account is as simple as any website, but it also allows you to connect with Facebook which makes the sign-up process a bit simpler.

Renting or Buying

Once you’ve found a book, BookRenter displays all the information about it, and you should double check to verify that it’s the correct title, author, ISBN, edition, etc. You don’t want to wind up with the wrong textbook when class starts!

BookRenter-TextbookPage

Once you’ve verified that it’s the correct book, you have a few options for renting or buying.

BookRenter-Rent

As you can see above, there are different rental period options. If you’re on a quarter system, you can probably get away with a shorter rental period, but if you’re on semesters (like me) then you will likely have to go for the 125-day rental. However, if you choose a shorter rental period and need to extent it, BookRenter allows you to do so without any additional fees or penalties.

BookRenter-Buy

They also have some limited options for buying books, as shown above. This particular book was only available used, some are only available new, and some aren’t available for purchase at all. But really, for the student on a budget, renting is generally the way to go, since reselling your purchased textbooks won’t get you more than a couple dollars.

Also, purchased books aren’t covered by the “5-Star Satisfaction Guarantee”, which basically just means that once you buy it, it’s yours. None of the flexibility of renting.

BookRenter’s 5-Star Satisfaction Guarantee covers the following 5 points:

  1. You can return your online books for any reason within our refund period – no questions asked.
  2. Every order is available for express shipping, and return shipping is always free.
  3. You’ll be happy with the quality of your books (or we’ll ship you another one on our dime).
  4. You can extend your rental at any time – at the same cheap daily rental rate.
  5. If you decide to keep the book, it will never cost more than the purchase price.

This is a pretty sweet deal, if you’re renting. I would suggest sticking with renting.

Returning

Orders over $25 ship for free (and if your textbooks cost less than $25, I would like to know what magical university you are attending) and return shipping is always free. They provide you with the label and you just save the box it came in. When the semester is over, package it up and drop it off at the nearest post office.

BookRenter-Return

It may seem like a hassle to order books online when your university bookstore is so close and convenient, but trust me, when you walk past the line of students waiting to return their books at the bookstore on the last day of the semester and simply drop your package off at the post office, you won’t regret it.

Conclusion

Congratulations! You can now go forth and rent some cheap textbooks. You may also want to think about using Evernote to organize your class work Back To School? How To Organize Your Classroom Work With Evernote Back To School? How To Organize Your Classroom Work With Evernote School time can become stressful for both students and teachers, especially in high school and later in college. Therefore, it's absolutely crucial that you stay as organized as possible so that you know where to... Read More , and if you picked up a new Windows 8 device this holiday season, you should look into Microsoft’s OneNote for Windows 8 app, which we have reviewed and genuinely liked The Perfect Modern Notetaking App: OneNote For Windows 8 The Perfect Modern Notetaking App: OneNote For Windows 8 Microsoft finally did something right! OneNote turns your Windows 8 tablet into a handy notebook. Quickly scribble down notes and pick them up anywhere. Syncing via SkyDrive automatically makes them available on the desktop. Read More .

What’s your favorite way of getting textbooks for university? To you prefer to rent or buy? Let us know in the comments.

Photo Credit: Abhi Sharma/Flickr

  1. Carl Weckerle (@cweckerle)
    January 21, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    There are also options from @GoBoundless or if faculty adopt open source texts such as @OpenStaxCollege.

  2. Joel L
    January 21, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    This... is awesome. Textbooks are such a scam and I'm glad that there are ways to circumvent the horribly inflated prices. Thanks Justin.

  3. likefunbutnot
    January 21, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    Save even more money by checking torrent sites. Students already pay thousands to attend college. It's unbelievable that any decent institution can't absorb the cost of buying rights to distribute a .pdf or .epub.

    Also, check with your prof to see if there's any reason they specifically want the newest edition of a textbook. I've taught undergrads in the past and in one of the books I used the biggest difference between a 6th edition and an 8th edition was the use of more feminine pronouns and names in the examples.

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