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Should You Rent Your Textbooks or Participate in a Textbooks Buyback Program?

Are you trying to decide whether you should rent college textbooks or participate in a textbooks buyback program? If so, there are several factors you should take into consideration. After all, while one option might be more cost-effective, another may be better suited to your lifestyle as well as your long-term needs. Therefore, you should be sure to explore the pros and cons of each option as you try to decide which one is best for you.



One factor you will need to consider when deciding between renting textbooks or participating in a textbooks buyback program is the cost. Many students can save as much as 50 to 85 percent off the list price of a textbook by renting it rather than buying it. Of course, when buying used textbooks, the price difference will shrink significantly. Still, for those who are on a tight budget, renting textbooks may be the best option.

Book Usage

When participating in a textbooks buyback program, you generally have more freedom to write and highlight inside the book than you will have if participating in a rental program. Of course, you will still have to be careful about the amount of writing and highlighting you do if you hope to sell the book at a later time. After all, if the book is marked up too much, textbooks buyback companies will not accept the book. Or, they may significantly reduce the amount they are willing to pay. This is still better than rental, however, since many textbook rental companies will not allow you to highlight in them at all.
If you want to be able to highlight important information in your textbook, you may have no other choice but to purchase your books and then sell them back to a company that specializes in textbooks buyback. Or, you might want to look into using highlighting tape or using other materials that can be easily removed once you are done with the course.

Keep What You Want

When you participate in a textbook rental program, you may have no choice but to send the books back when you are done with them. When you buy your textbooks, on the other hand, you may choose to keep them without worrying about any extra hassles. So, if you find that the book offers valuable information that is worthy of becoming a permanent part of your personal library, all you have to do is keep the book. While some textbook rental companies will allow you to purchase the book, this will result in extra costs and paperwork. Of course, if you do purchase a book and decide to sell it back, there will be extra hassles involved in this process as well. Therefore, it is really a matter of which option you find to be the most convenient.


If you purchase a used book with the intention of participating in a textbooks buyback program, you might find that some of the books are quite worn out or have been written in by other students. When renting a textbook, the book is also likely to have some wear and tear. Therefore, if you are looking for a perfect book, your only real option is to buy a new textbook and to sell it back later. If you are willing to look past normal wear and tear, on the other hand, textbook rental or buying used is the clear winner.