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Coupon Abbreviations
  • SC = Store Coupon
  • MC = Manufacturer Coupon
  • SS = Smart Source
  • RP = Red Plum
  • PG = Proctor and Gamble
Coupon Terms
  • WYB = When You Buy
  • B1G1 = Buy One Get One Free
  • .75/1 = 75 cents off one item
  • .75/3 = 75 cents off three items
  • EXP = Expiration Date

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In our neck of the woods school started back this week.  With that brings the lovely expense of buying books for older kids.  One option you may not have thought of though is renting textbooks.  If you know they are taking a low level class and are never going to want to keep the book you might really want to look into this.

Behind the scenes of Southern Savers I have a few college students that come and help with all kinds of things, so we were researching how to save and came across the idea of renting your books.  There are three main websites that do this and they all creamed the local bookstore price handsdown.

Here’s a rundown of the three sites:

  • BookRenter.com allows you to rent for a full or partial semester.  They also offer free shipping both ways! Use code TT5%OFF to get 5% off your total purchase.
  • Chegg.com has 130 day rentals (full semester).  Shipping is $3.99 for the first book and $2.99 for any others.  Use code aff51 to get 5% off your total purchase.
  • CollegeBookRenter.com allows full or partial semester rentals.  Currently the are offering free shipping through 8/31 and return shipping is always free.  Use code SAVEWITHCBR to get 5% off your total purchase.

To give you an idea of the savings:

Fundamentals of Human Resource Management
Purchase New $134
Purchase Used: $95.24
Rental: $42-$53 (after 5% savings)

I know from my experience buying the used version and selling it back later I only got maybe $30-$40 for books (if I was lucky), so to me this comes out to pretty good deal.

As with all online deals, you can even get cash back from your text books!  Go through Shopathome.com or Ebates and get between 4% and 7% cash back from the three sites above.

Do you have any other tips or tricks for saving on college text books??

    • Kwalker3263

      I use bigwords.com it searches through many textbook websites to find you the best deals!

    • Cheryl

      My daughter did this through college the last 2 years and saved us tons of money!! It’s such a win, win!! No books to have to deal with later. They even send you the return label so you save the box!!

    • Guest

      You can also buy from Amazon or another textbook site and then sell it when you no longer need it.  I do this, and I usually come out even.

    • VP22

      My son used Bookrenter this semester and it is definitely great for the really expensive books. In the past, if we had advance notice, we went to Ebay or Half.com to get books. Both worked out wonderfully. Half.com, you can get some really great prices but they do send it media mail and it has averaged about two weeks for us so it is not for those pressed for time. Although I think you can have it shipped faster for a fee.

    • HM1968

      Just make sure that the book you are renting is the exact version of the one the professor/teacher is requiring.  Sometimes the versions of the books vary slightly so it’s always best to double-check.  It’s an expensive lesson if it’s not the right book.  Just a little advise from someone who’s been there!!!

    • If you’re into Ebates you can get 6.5% back and a coupon for 10% off your rental.

    • Carrie

      I’m a college student, and once you really get into your major, student might want to hang on to some books.  What I have done is ask my professor if I can use the previous edition of the book.  If there aren’t too many changes and/or updates, the professors are usually okay with it.  Those books are usually run anywhere between $5-$15 per book.  That’s a LOT cheaper than buying new or renting, and you get to keep it for future reference!  All you have to do is ask!

    • Kitty

      I’m in college and i use directtextbook.com to find my books. It’s a great site because it compares prices to shows you where you can buy or rent the book you need for the best price! and if the site is offering any coupons it will also show it on the side :) International editions textbooks are a great choice too! 

    • Stephanienaumann

      Thanks so much for this great information!  I’m sending my first child to college to an art college in CT next weekend and Oh Boy! is stuff expensive.  The tuition you know up front, but all the other extras and incidentals – WOW!

    • UASenior

      Bigwords.com is a textbook search engine. Just enter the books ISBN number and it will find the best prices for both rental and for purchase! It has saved me a ton of money.

    • Weston4321

      !!!!!!!!!!!!! I know that this is a good idea and it will save money yes but I have the real trick!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      I you want to save a lot of money order the international copy of the books I am going for two master degrees and my books can cost 500 to 1000 dollars a year if I just bought them. But a 200 dollar book goes to 5 dollar if you google international copies. You can legaly buy the books but are not permitted to sell them but its great having all my textbook to look back into.

      • Weston4321


      • Andie98_1

        I’ve looked into the international copy, I’ve found that some of the work problems may be different. So make sure you are aware of what kind of assignments you will have. Will they rely on work problems? Make sure you check it out carefully before buying international.

        • Weston4321

          NO THEY ARE NOT All I can say is that I got my under grad books and getting my masters and I have never had a single problem. The only thing different is the cover that is it! These are just books that other countries have not had to pay a bunch of tax and copyright fees.

    • Weston4321

      !!!!!!!!!!!!! I know that this is a good idea and it will save money yes but I have the real trick!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      I you want to save a lot of money order the international copy of the books I am going for two master degrees and my books can cost 500 to 1000 dollars a year if I just bought them. But a 200 dollar book goes to 5 dollar if you google international copies. You can legaly buy the books but are not permitted to sell them but its great having all my textbook to look back into.

    • Jhutchinson

      I have personally used Campusbookrentals.com. I have to get 3 books for Fall semester and the total for all 3 was $85! They send a return envelope with paid shipping to return them when you are done with the semester. Took 2 days to get them too!

    • savinmavin

      I have rented text books for college in the past year and LOVE it. So easy to do and way cheaper than purchasing the book. Highly recommend this money saving idea.

    • Anonymous

      Two things from a college instructor
      1. Ask about using previous editions
      2. Watch out when purchasing books online with regards to online access codes. Some online versions don’t include the code or don’t include the right kind of code for your class :)

      • DonnaR

        I would also add to be sure you’re getting a ‘student’ text, and not a teacher’s edition. Be sure to read the fine print details and if there aren’t any, contact the seller to be sure what you’re getting.

    • Kim

      THANK YOU!!!!! This is AWESOME!!!!!! I am currently working on my EdS degree in Exemplary Teaching with a Reading Endorsement. Textbooks are incredibly expensive! This will help me out a lot!!!!

    • I buy my books from half(dot)com and sell them on there also after the semester is over, I usually come out even. 

    • Aquafuzz

      If I buy them (from Amazon or somewhere) where can I sell them back when I’m done?

      • AshleyD

        I know Chegg does buy books. http://www.chegg.com They are always so pleasant to work with!!!

      • Anonymous

        You can usually sell the back on amazon. Just search textbook buyback and usually something comes up. Sometimes they only accept certain books, but I’ve sold a lot of mine back on there and it gives you an amazon gift card when they receive your item(s). Also, if you wanted to you could probably sell them back at your campus bookstore.

      • Guest

        Or you can create a seller account on amazon and sell it at the price you choose.     Amazon receives a portion of the sell price, but you can often get most, if not all, of the money you spent on the textbook back.

    • I have 2 kids in college, so we are very much into the book thing.  We have done numerous things to get the books they need, but I have to say the easiest is when all the kids have the same major and go to the same college!  They just pass the books down like they used to pass down clothes. Try Paperback swap
      This is a book trading site and we have been able to locate books needed for classes and gotten them for free.  Check it out for other types of books too.
      Also, renting is great!  The sites mentioned here are good and my girls have used them.  But they like renting from their college book store.  No hastle with returns and they are sure to get the correct edition.  Check the book out of the college library- super free and convenient option.  Particularly good for suppimental reading or short term assignments.  On line stores are good, sometimes better prices than others.  Borrowing from friends or trading is another low cost option. 

    • AshleyD

      I HIGHLY recommend Chegg. I have used them for 3 years now, through my college year and now my husbands. He started on Monday and his automotive book on campus was $140. Through Chegg using Ebates I was able to get it for right under $40 with shipping!!! Thats over a $100 savings.

    • Anonymous

      Buying books on Amazon has almost always been the way to go for me. It’s much cheaper than at a campus bookstore. You can also sell books back to Amazon a lot of the time, which is nice. It probably comes out to be about the same as renting a book if you sell them back. I like having the option of keeping my books if I need to (I have actually had at least two books I have used for more than one semester) and I don’t have to worry about it not being in good enough condition for rental companies to charge a fee (even though I do take good care of my books). I also recently purchased an international version of a chemistry textbook, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to sell it back anywhere or not.

    • bgoff

      I used Chegg myself and really liked it.  Just remember to save the shipping box for your return. Chegg will send (via PDF) the shipping label to return your book when your rental period is up.  Super easy and economical.

    • robin

      If you’re looking for a particular book, you can google the isbn number, then click on the google shopping tag and click on the tab for price order.  That is how I buy books.  We also sell my daughters’ books online.  We just found out that my daughter’s college has a book exchange site, which is the only way we could figure to sell her old chemistry book.  It’s a special edition made for her college only, and we weren’t able to find it on the usual sites.

    • Jennifer

      My college (Western Carolina University in NC) offered this through the campus bookstore 20 years ago!! It was awesome.  You just brought them your schedule, they handed you a stack of books and you had to return them 5 days after exams or you would be billed for the books.  There was a small (compared to book prices!)  “rental fee/deposit” that was included in your tuition.  I think it was $50. And “normal” highlighting and notes in the margins was not considered damage when you returned them. I wish more schools did this!!! 
      update:  I just checked…they still do this.  And now it’s $107 rental fee.

    • Drkkhoard

      I recently sold an number of textbooks to Amazon and received a very good price for the books. Amazon credited me a gift card for the amount of the books. Now, ,y daughter at college is able to order some of the things she need from school and is using up the credit.

    • Kylie

      Half.com also does text book rentals

    • I would not recommend renting books.  Many times you can buy used books online from half.com or other websites like this.  I have found that the renters price is only a few bucks less than buying a used book.  At the end of the semester you can turn around and resell the book as opposed to sending it back and not getting any money back. 
      Past semester spent around $300 on books – just sold 3 books for around 280… Just saying shop around and make sure renting is your best option.

    • Anonymous

      I am a college student and the best deals I have found are from buying the international version of the textbook needed. The content is exactly the same, it just has a different cover and ISBN number. I usually get the international version for $30-$35 instead of over $100 for the US version anywhere else. Abebooks is a good company to buy from.

    • Today there is a Living Social deal through Baton Rouge, LA that is $9 for $20 worth of rental from BookRenter. Not sure how their prices are because I usually go the Amazon purchase route (harder now in law school than it was as an undergrad because some of my classes are Louisiana law only, so fewer books in the system), but worth a look.

    • Kairi Melodya

      Buy an international version or earlier edition that is cheaper then renting- or wait to see if the book willl actually gt used. I always found that in at least 1 class we didint use the book . I take 5 college classes and only spent 30.00 on books.