What you need to know about renting books

bookWhen you’re checking out book rental sites, there are a few things you should look out for. Sometimes they’ll hide things like damage fees and lost book fees back in the FAQ section, or you might not be able to find the policy on their site at all. Either way, you’d probably want to know that you’ll be buying the book if it’s damaged or if you don’t return it within 7 days of the due date. Here are some things you should look out for:


Shipping times and costs: Not all book rental companies offer free shipping, and if you want to take advantage of those offers you’ll have to put your order in a week or two before you start classes so you can have the books on time.


Return shipping: We haven’t found a place yet that charges for return shipping, though there’s probably at least one out there. However, some will provide you with shipping materials which is an extra bonus. Others have specific shipping instructions like sending each book in its own box.


Refund policy:  You may need to return your book if you cancel a class, find a cheaper book elsewhere, or if you just don’t need it anymore. The question is, can you return it for free or are you charged a fee?


Extensions: If you keep your book past the due date for whatever reason, you’ll need an extension. Some places have a grace period, and others hit you with fees right away. If you’re someone who forgets dates easily, make sure you pay attention to these fees.


Lost book fee: Some companies specifically charge a “lost book” fee. If you’re prone to losing things, watch out because they can cost you more than the price of the book.


Damage fee: If you like to eat and study, highlight excessively, or fold the corners to mark your place, you could be charged a damage fee up to the list price of the book.


List price: When they talk about things like damage fees or lost fees, book rental sites will often refer to the list price. This is the amount that you would pay if you bought the book new, not the rental price. Let’s say you’ve lost a book and the fee they charge is list price. So if you could buy the book new for $50 but you rented it for $20, the lost fee would be $50.


Supplemental materials: Most book rental sites do not guarantee supplemental materials that may come with books such as CDs, DVDs, or codes for an online segment of the book.


Highlighting policy: We haven’t found a place that didn’t allow any highlighting, though some are more lenient than others. So if you’re someone who is looking for a next-to-new book with minimal highlighting, make sure you look for a place that has a minimal highlighting policy. Just make sure you don’t mark it up too much or you might be assessed a damage fee.


Buy used books: Most book rental places will also buy used textbooks. This doesn’t necessarily matter when you’re just renting, but it’s good to know if you have some extra books you’d like to sell back.


Purchase option: This means that at the end of the semester you can decide to purchase the book instead of return it. Most book rental sites will have this option available.


>>Top 5 book rental sites