Buying, renting, e-books, or even no books at all. These are the choices college students face at the beginning of each semester. Robert Guell, Indiana State University economics professor says the trend is taking off, "The major costs of going to college have risen rapidly."
With the majority of students buying textbooks themselves, the financial strain can be huge.
Robert Guell says, "Frequently, they're left in the position of choosing which courses to buy books for and which ones to try and skate by without."
With new editions of textbooks coming out every few years, what is the best option? Alan Raggo, textbook manager at Vincennes University says rentals might be the way to go, "Rental saves anywhere from 43 to up to 47%"
The bookstore at VU has offered book rentals since 2007. Raggo says the bookstore is trying to give students good options, "We're trying to offer as much as we can for the least expensive as we can for the students."
E-books have also emerged as an option for students in the last several years, but besides carrying a lighter load to class, they don't offer a cheaper version.
Guell says, "Other than renting, the mechanisms to hold down cost for students are those imperfect share, old edition, that kind of thing."
Raggo says rentals beat not having books at all, "Rentals are their best bet and having a book in class is their best bet." For students who do want to buy they're books to keep permanently, they can often buy a used version for a discounted price.
There are a number of websites out there that offer book rentals outside of the university bookstores. There are also offer ways to compare rental prices.
Check out Chegg, Amazon, and Campus Books for rentals and comparisons.
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