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Online Textbook Rental – eCampus.com


I can’t believe how expensive textbooks are.  American’s don’t realize that Canadians, on average, pay 20-30% more for everything, including textbooks, than they do.  This is a primary driver behind our desire to participate in cross border shopping. As a result, that $150 dollar book ends up costing around $200 north of the border!  Outrageous.

Back when I was in school in the mid/late 90s, I was spending $700 per year for textbooks – about $350 per semester.  That was for 5 courses, so about $70 per semester textbook and upward of $150 for a full year text book.  Since I got a Bachelor of Arts in political science and sociology, I often had 15 or more books in a year.  Given inflation, I can imagine that students are spending over $1,000 per year on textbooks, especially if you are in a major, like science, where books are so expensive.

How Textbook Rental Saves Money

I wish I had textbook rental when I was in school.  Since I only used my book for one class, then sold it back (at 20% of the purchase price, if I was lucky). it would have been so much more beneficial if I could rent my books instead.  Now, companies like eCampus are renting them out for the quarter, and providing savings in the process.  The campus book store sure had quite a racket set up: sell over priced books, buy them back at a steep discount and then re-sell them for a tidy profit.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

I was checking out eCampus to find used books online, and I was in shock by the savings I saw for renting textbooks.  For many books, the savings for renting was maybe 50% of the cost of a new book, and 30% less than even a used book.  That is some great savings.  For example, there was is a Principles of Physics textbook, pretty standard, that sells for $214 new and $150 used.  It rents for $54 for the semester (even cheaper if you rent for the quarter).  Huge savings!

Another great feature is that shipping is free both ways on orders over $59.  They send you the book, and provide you a shipping label to send it back at the end of the semester.  This will save you a lot of money if you order many books at once.  I know I used to buy my textbooks all at once so this is a feature I would definitely take advantage of.

Finally, many books are now coming out in eTextbook, which offer even more savings.  You can save 90% compared to the cost of a new textbook.  If I had this while I was in school, I would have been paying $70 per year instead of $700 – very worth it in my opinion.

11 thoughts on “Online Textbook Rental – eCampus.com

  1. It’s a monopoly (or possibly oligarchy, depending on the your definition) so the textbook companies basically had a license to print money. Thank goodness for places like Amazon (I save easily 70% on most books) and ecampus. The only negative is that the industry has now gotten wise and releases the “new edition” every year to trick more naive students into throwing their student debt dollars into the black hole. Apparently Apple is expanding into the industry and is looking to revolutionize things with a VERY cheap online delivery model.

  2. Textbooks really are a scam. I find it hilarious that people push the “go green” slogan and then they reprint these textbooks with hardly any changes added to them. It’s ludicrous. Renting is smart and so is buying them at a discounted cost and selling them back.

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  4. Renting textbooks wasn’t big back when I was college. The option could’ve saved me a lot of money. What I find particularly egregious are the professors who make textbook selections without any regard to how much they’ll ultimately cost students. I had some professors who’d require you to buy an overpriced book that was barely used throughout the semester. The universities need to be more thoughtful.

    There were some books that were related to my major that I wished I hadn’t sold back to the college bookstore. I could’ve really used them as reference materials when I started my career.

  5. Renting textbooks is a great alternative to what many people do: sell them on eBay. Renting textbooks saves you the hassle of listing, selling, and shipping books across the country. Great ideas here – thanks for sharing the info!

  6. I always rent and I tend to do a search on the book I need and find the best deal online. I tried digital one semester and that was a disaster when mixed with online classes. Certainly don’t buy if you can help it!!!

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