The Rise of Textbook Rentals

college students, campus bookstores, rent textbooks, price of new textbooks, textbook


College students typically have to pay over a thousand dollars for textbooks throughout the time they are attending college.

  • 1. Textbook prices continue to rise every year and publishers release new versions of textbooks often.
  • 2. It is not always feasible for college students to buy used textbooks because the used versions will usually be the old versions.
  • 3. New revisions of textbooks are released by publishers quite frequently whether or not the textbook’s information changed at all.


Textbook rentals have risen steadily for the past several years with new textbook purchases going on the decline. The price of new textbooks has risen over 1,000% since 1977. While some textbook prices from certain publishers have decreased, it is still much cheaper to rent all textbooks. The reason for the huge increase of the cost of new textbooks is because college students need to buy the required textbooks. Some experts have stated that expensive textbooks are being sold like drugs. Although in this case, it is professors instead of doctors trying to force the products. Despite what some experts believe, publishers and bookstores disagree with this assessment.


College textbooks cost a lot of money to publish. It costs around $750,000 to create one textbook. Textbooks can be so huge with a big editorial staff of experts. These experts need to draw illustrations, write the equations in math textbooks, and edit layer upon layer of each textbook. The price of new textbooks have risen more than the price of most goods, healthcare services, and the cost of college tuition itself. A representative from the college textbook publisher McGraw-Hill said that publishers try to revise textbooks once every 18 months if it is possible. The representative believes that textbooks do not need to be edited that often in some fields, such as economics because the law of supply and demand does not change often.


When Congress completed a revision of the Higher Education Act, the Act set new requirements for the prices of textbooks. The course descriptions at colleges must state how much the textbooks will cost and publishers have to let the faculty know how much the textbooks will cost. Despite all this, students do not really pick courses based on how much the textbooks will cost. Anyway, new textbooks are expensive almost completely across the board. A possibility to lower the cost of college textbooks is to make them similar to high school textbooks. In this scenario, a college would buy the textbooks and then rent them all out to the student for a fee. Another possible option is to use open-source materials in place of the textbooks.


There is now the option to rent textbooks at campus bookstores and a plethora of websites. College students can save quite a bit of money with the option of renting their required textbooks. Some campus bookstores not only allow students to rent textbooks in store, but to also rent them from the bookstore’s website. Campus bookstores can be very wary of websites that offer online textbook rentals. A popular online textbook rental company has been received multiple cease and desist notices multiple times when they pulled into campus property so students could rent textbooks from them. Not only are campus bookstores wary of losing business, so are the publishers of textbooks. Textbook publishers feel like they need to raise the price of their textbooks to recoup their losses enough to make a profit.

Online rentals

New textbooks are very expensive for students with a low budget. On top of this, students normally only need a textbook for one semester. A student can sell their used textbooks after the semester is over, but they will have to sell them at a loss. A typical new college textbook costs around $100 or more. A quick search on an internet search engine can bring up a multitude of textbook rental websites. Students should do research on the websites first to see if they are legit and if they will have to pay to ship the textbooks back after the rental period is finished. Students can check reviews of websites on sites such as Sitejabber and check their BBB profile to see their rating and any reviews and complaints that might be there.

College students can rent textbooks at

About the author: Joseph Allen is a Digital Marketer who works with Booksrun to improve organic traffic. Joseph knows what truly drives conversions and traffic. In addition to his digital marketing experience, Joseph is a certified PPC specialist.

More on this topic: 10 Tech Tools to Engage Students and Enhance Productivity


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