Your campus bookstore probably will offer a textbook rental service, but there are many sites that may offer that service for a cheaper price. Many offer free shipping, but free shipping can mean higher rental costs.
With that in mind, here is a list of the websites that offer textbook rentals, with a variety of pricing, but roughly the same rental length. For the sake of consistency, the book that will be used as an example is a Veterinary Technology/Veterinary Assisting book – An Illustrated Guide to Veterinary Medical Technology, 3rd Edition.
The individual sites will be broken down by price, shipping and additional features.
For a 125-day rental, the cheapest will cost $33.83, with free shipping. For a 178-day rental, the cost is $52.66; the cost for shipping is $3.99. A last note about this site: along with the prices and shipping costs listed, there is a button by each title where you can find coupons and deals.
The pricing on Abebooks seems to be about average, with the cost of books being very low. A risk-free 21-day period is offered, too, among a few other services they offer. An example of a service: course reviews and planners, something that was not found on other sites. Another perk is you can easily track down abebooks coupons that will save on shipping costs and the overall order total.
For the 125-day rental price, the cost to rent the book is going to run at $47.48. As for shipping, it is standard (not expedited), and it’s free, with free returns. The risk-free guarantee period is 21 days; and they allow you to highlight the textbooks. To help you save more money, you can subscribe to their mailing list for deals, coupons, etc. But if your professor requires you to use the supplemental materials that usually come with the book, be aware that this site does not guarantee that these materials will be provided in the package.
Barnes & Noble
A 130-day rental will cost $33.98, with shipping adding $3.99 to that total. Free return shipping is offered, and you can extend the rental if needed. If you have a Nook, you can use that format instead. To use this format for 180 days, the cost is $46.49. You will need to have the Nook Study e-reader installed. Once you get that done, you can instantly download the book. When the rental period ends, your license will expire; the book will no longer be available unless you extend the rental.
The listed the cost of a 180-day etextbook digital rental is $40.49. Digital is the only format you can rent this in on this site. However, they offer three ways of accessing the material. You can choose from the following: reading online from your mobile device or computer, reading offline with selected browsers or devices in the event that you can’t access the Internet, and last, printing the pages to fit your needs. The free trial period lasts for seven days.
So, there it is: a small sample of sites you can use to rent your textbooks online. Remember that the book used as an example is just that: an example. The actual pricing of the rentals will vary, depending on the title of the book.
You will also need to check with your professor to determine if any supplemental materials are required or not. If they are, make sure they are included in the rental package.