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Renting Is the New Buying

Meet Textbook Rental Site Chegg.comEver think about renting textbooks versus buying them? Services are popping up all over the internet offering all your textbooks on a rental basis. Most sites allow users to rent the textbooks on a 60-day, quarterly (~85 days) or per semester (~125 days) basis.

The most popular service with the cleanest and simplest interface is Chegg.com. You simply type in the ISBN number for the book you are looking for, and it shows you the rates for different time periods. Users can even request additional rental days when initially renting the book. The book ships to you via your choice of speeds and you return them through UPS for free. Customers have the option to purchase the textbook, and with every rental, Chegg plants a tree.

I tried a few of my textbooks from this semester to see how the prices compare. For a Computer Security book I bought used at the Penn State Bookstore for $78.00, the same book could be rented for $41.99 without shipping. Given the changing pace of computer security technology, a lot of the content in the textbook will be outdated in a few years. As a result, had I known about textbook rentals at the beginning of the semester, I definitely would have sprung for the rental.

Obviously, it may not be cost effective to rent a textbook that you may want to hold onto after graduation. I would encourage you to do some shopping around to see your different options.

The following are some resources for textbook as you begin to think about how you’re going to deal with purchasing next semester’s textbooks:

  1. Chegg.com – Textbook Rental Service
  2. Bookrenter – Another Popular Rental Service
  3. PSU Book Exchange – Penn State’s Official Book Exchange (Penn State ID required)
  4. Craigslist – The Link Takes You To The State College Book Section
  5. Amazon.com Textbook Section – Buy and Sell Textbooks (Check out the sell-back portion of the website, you may be able to get more money back from Amazon than you would selling it back to the Penn State Bookstore)
  6. Facebook Marketplace – This link might not work for some of you, but you can find it manually by specifying State College in the search bar when you navigate to the marketplace

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About the Author

Steve S.

Steve Sharer is a Security and Risk Analysis major and an overall good guy. He brings Onward State readers enticing posts such as "Question of the Day" and "Campus Explorer" and will continue to do so until he becomes the President of the United States of America in 2024.

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