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What's the Best Website to Buy Cheap College Textbooks?

Here’s some good news to brighten your day as you prepare for the 2020-21 academic year. The amount of money you spend on course materials this year shouldn’t even come close to what students were spending just a few years ago.

The average student spent $413 on required materials last year, $2 less than the previous year and $288 less than 2007-8, according to a survey by the National Association of College Stores. One factor is accessibility to free content, with many students downloading required materials from the internet. Another is the proliferation of textbook rental websites, which offer college book rentals for a fraction of the cost of purchasing – as well as free return shipping.

Type ‘rent textbooks online’ into Google and you’ll be hit with hundreds of options. We’re guessing you don’t want to spend all day comparing different websites, so, to save you time, we went out and did all the research for you.

Here’s our list of the 10 best textbook rental sites in 2020 and beyond: 

1. Chegg

Chegg is the biggest name in textbook rental, so it makes sense for us to rank it at number one. It has a huge library of textbooks that can be rented or bought. Just search by title, author’s name, or ISBN to find the book you need. A Chegg book rental doesn’t just get you a textbook; it also gets you access to other Chegg services, like exam prep and textbook solutions.

Top features:

  • 21-day money back guarantee
  • Option to extend or purchase a rental
  • 4-week free trial of Chegg Study (step-by-step textbook solutions and 24/7 access to Q&A experts)

2. Campus Book Rentals

Campus Book Rentals has been offering cheap textbook rentals for college since 2007. It is known for flexible return options, including semester (130 days), quarter (85 days), and summer (55 days). The Campus Book Rentals website is very user-friendly. It even offers an advanced search feature where you can search for multiple books at once.

Top features:

  • 21-day money back guarantee
  • 15-day grace period (followed by option to extend by 15 or 30 days)
  • Users are encouraged to highlight and write in textbooks

3. Amazon

We know what you’re thinking: Amazon, really? Sure, Amazon sells everything to everyone, but this ecommerce monolith really does deserve to be on our list. The Amazon textbook rental service offers a huge library of cheap rentals combined with all the benefits of Amazon (e.g. free shipping, fast delivery). Rental options include semester-long rentals and month-long rentals.

Top features:

  • 30-day money back guarantee (for semester-long rentals), 15-day guarantee for all other rentals
  • Option to extend rental by 15, 30, 60, or 90 days for an incremental fee
  • Prime Student (6-month trial, then $6.49/month) offers free textbook delivery, exclusive student deals, and access to thousands of TV shows and movies

4. eCampus

eCampus has the best loyalty program in the textbook rental business. Its eWards scheme is free to join. Just sign up using your email address to earn points for making purchases, referring friends and following eCampus on social media. The program offers generous deals and discounts, and points can earn you up to 17% off your next order.

Top features:

  • 25-day money back guarantee
  • Extend or purchase your rental at any time
  • Earn eWards points to get access to deals and discounts

5. Knetbooks

Knetbooks stands out from its competitors for user-friendliness and customer service. Its website looks like it could do with a redesign, but it’s really very easy to use. It offers very generous extension options (see full details below). And it offers excellent customer support by email, phone, or live chat. If you aren’t satisfied, Knetbooks promises to fix it.

Top features:

  • 25-day money back guarantee
  • Extend your rental by 15, 30, 60, 90 or 130 days
  • Text notification when your order ships and when your rental due date is approaching

6. Valore Books

ValoreBooks is so confident its prices are the lowest that it promises to reward you for proving otherwise. If you rent a book from ValoreBooks and find a lower price within 7 days, it will refund you the difference. ValoreBooks promises to get you up to 90% off millions of titles. That’s a big claim, but it costs nothing to search your required textbooks and find out.

Top features:

  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Extend your rental at any time
  • Refund if you find a lower price within 7 days of renting

7. Alibris

Alibris is the place to go for college textbooks you can’t find anywhere else. That’s because it specializes in rare and out-of-print books, music and movies. Alibris maintains a network of independent booksellers who list their inventories on Alibris. If you find a book you need, Alibris will have it delivered to you within 3-7 days.

Top features:

  • 21-day money back guarantee
  • Extend your rental at any time
  • Supports 6,000+ independent booksellers in the US and worldwide

8. TextbookRush

TextbookRush is another book rental website that claims to offer discounts of up to 90% off the standard price. While we can’t speak for the millions of books on the TextbookRush website, from what we can see the books are very affordable. The best thing about TextbookRush is its eco-friendly policy. All orders arrive in green reusable boxes (hint: re-use it when returning the book).

Top features:

  • 14-day money back guarantee
  • Option of re-renting after return (no option to extend)
  • All books arrive in green reusable boxes

9. CampusBooks

CampusBooks is a textbook rental comparison site. It lets you search and compare prices from Amazon, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, CampusBookRentals, Chegg, and dozens of other book rental websites. CampusBooks’ patent pending SuperBot tells you if it’s cheaper to buy or rent your textbook. If you choose to rent, CampusBooks will redirect you to the provider’s website.

Top features:

  • Searches dozens of rental companies to find the cheapest books
  • Shows you whether it’s cheaper to buy or sell
  • Network includes all the top college book rental sites

10. CheapestTextbooks.com

CheapestTextbooks.com is another useful website for comparing prices from multiple rental sites. Its search engine quickly scans through prices from big-name platforms, including all the ones listed on this page. CheapestTextbooks.com is a good place to start if you want to save time comparing the market.

Top features:

  • Searches top rental companies to find the cheapest books
  • Shows you rental and purchase prices side-by-side
  • Shows results in seconds
How we created this
list
Compiled from “Best of” lists published by the world’s most trusted sources, and with our own recommended brands peppered in - this Top10 list aims to help consumers make smarter decisions.