The Pros and Cons of Renting vs Buying Textbooks

March 20, 2023

Whether you are a returning student or an incoming freshman – you probably have considered a little bit regarding if you should buy a book or rent it.

And it’s quite a natural thing to do too.

After all, as a student, you won’t have a lot of money lying around here and there for you. So, if you want to further your studies, it’s a must that you decide on the aforesaid question quickly.

But, if you are simply confused like I was, then let me help you out a little.

In this article, I will talk about both the pros and cons of buying a book and renting the same. Hence, if you keep reading till the end, you will certainly be able to make a decision alone.

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Deciding to Buy a Book

If you are a bookaholic and love to read – buying a book might sound like a luscious choice to you. However, as you don’t have unlimited money, you have to be smart about it. Even if you end up purchasing a book, you’ll need to strategize how to make money with it.

In any case, that’s not what we are here to talk about. Hence, let’s focus on the advantages of buying a book first. And then, we can move on to the cons of the same.

  • Once you purchase a book, you become the unanimous owner of it. Even if someone wants it, they won’t be able to get it from you legally. Hence, if you want to further your collection of books, this can be an excellent decision for you.
  • As the owner of the book, you can do whatever you want with it. And that means you can, indeed, highlight the same how much you want. If needed, you can also tear it up and bring the page with you to the exam hall. (Don’t do that. I’m just joking.)
  • Once you are done reading the book or if your college is over, you can also sell it to a person to salvage some money. Remember, a clean and clear book will fetch a massive amount of money compared to the highlighted ones. So don’t do too much work on it.

Furthermore, if you can’t really afford the book, you might also try to go for something that’s been used by another person. A secondhand book always costs less than a new one.

In any case, whilst buying a book might sound nice and all at the beginning, it actually might make life a little difficult too. Keep reading to know more about it.

  • Buying a book can be extremely expensive. Even if you are buying with a discount, it might still cost you more than renting the same. So, it may not be worth it.
  • If you don’t use the book properly, it might end up being a not-so-productive usage of your hard-earned money. But, yes, you might resell it to get a portion of the money.
  • If you are only buying and not selling, the number of books in your house will keep on increasing. So, the more you buy, the lesser your home’s storage space will become.

Selling a book can be quite a hassle, sometimes. You have to list it online, find a buyer, and ship it to them. There’s quite a lot to do in that respect. So, if you’re a student, especially in a college, you probably won’t get enough time to do all this.

Deciding to Rent a Book

The process of renting a book can be quite difficult. For that, you will need to go to a relevant website, create an account there, and then you can start working on it. However, if you can go through this hassle, the entire process will feel like a blessing to your budget.

Here’s what you need to know about it.

  • Renting a textbook will be much, much cheaper than buying it. Yes, you might have to give some additional money depending on the duration, but it’s still less than making a purchase. It’s almost 5x to 7x lesser if we were putting it into context.
  • A book, which you’re renting from someone else, will certainly have some sort of tear or wear in it. Hence, there’s no need to worry too much about keeping it in perfect condition. But that doesn’t mean you will not take care of the book. If something bad happens to it, the owner of the same will demand additional cash too.
  • Once your semester is over, you can always give the book back to the owner. There is no need to be tense or worried about anything. Yes, you will definitely not get even a bit of money back that you had invested. But at least you don’t have to run around to try and find a new owner for the book as well, right?

So yes, renting a book is definitely better than buying one if you are looking at it from an economic viewpoint. However, it can still come with a few cons that you might not like.

Here are some of them.

  • As mentioned before, you are not going to make even a single penny from it. After all, you can’t sell it. And you may have to give the book to the owner too.
  • As it is someone else’s book, you won’t be able to highlight anything at all. There’s no way of tampering with the book. If you do, you might have to buy it from them.
  • If you run out of the deadline, the owner might ask you for some additional money as long as you are not returning it. So, it will be quite a fiasco in that sense.

The Bottom Line

Renting or buying – the decision between these two will entirely depend on what you want to do with the book. If you have enough money, purchasing it will be easier for you.

But, otherwise, I think you should always go for renting. And if you want to do so, make sure to choose a website that can offer some discounts for you.

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