College life is financially taxing driving students to search for the cheapest alternatives for mainstream options. Textbook rental is one example of a service that allows students to save on their study expenses. Instead of buying an expensive book to use only once or in a single semester, why not rent it for a lower price and return it when you are done with it?

There are many online textbook rental providers and the list below features some of the best out there. These services enable you to rent or buy both print and electronic textbooks. I personally prefer digital version because they are way more convenient. 

For instance, e-textbooks can be accessed anywhere and can also be downloaded and used offline. Also, digital textbooks include interactive features which allow you to engage with your reading materials at a deeper level (e.g., annotations, notes, highlights, integrated dictionaries, etc). Needless to mention that e-textbooks are stored on the cloud taking nothing of your physical space and mobility.

1. Amazon

Amazon is one of my favourite online textbook and book rental services. It allows you to rent books for one semester at a time. Certain titles are available for rent on a monthly basis (e.g., 30, 60, 0r 90 days). You can always extend the rental period and in case you are late returning rented textbooks the rental period is extended automatically and you get charged for that.

Depending on your rental period, extension can be 15 days or 30 days. As for shipping, Amazon Prime students get free two-day shipping for six months as well as exclusive offers through email. Unfortunately, Amazon ships rental books only within the United States.

2. Wiley

Wiley offers an equally important textbook rental service that allows you to save up to 50% or more. You can keep you print textbook rental for 130 days and for eBook rental you can keep it for 150 days. 

One good feature provided by Wiley is that when you rent a print textbook you get free 14-day eBook access while your rental ships. Standard shipping and returning textbook rentals are entirely free. Use Wiley’s search box to find your textbooks. You can search for titles by ISBN, title, or author name.

3. VitalSource

VitalSource offers access to an extensive academic digital content catalog available for both rent and buying. You can rent e-textbooks for a specific period of time that differs from title to the other or you can buy a lifetime access. What I like the most about Vital Source is the Bookshelf. 

This is an integrated ereader that is packed with full features including  read aloud allowing you to listen and follow along as Bookshelf reads to you, a workbook where you can add and edit notes and bookmarks, margin notes for taking annotations in line as you are reading, and many more.

4. ValoreBooks

ValorBooks allows you to buy or rent textbooks online from over 18000 verified sellers and rental providers. The site also offers the possibility to sell your textbooks and make some bucks from your used course materials. ValoreBooks offers all textbook rentals with free return shipping. 

It also offers flexible rental terms that include quarter-length (90 days) and semester-length (125 days) rentals. The process to rent a book on ValoreBooks is simple: search for your book by ISBN, author, or title; select the rental provider you want to rent your book from; choose how long you want your rental to last; add your rental to your shopping cart; select a shipping method, then enter your payment details.

5. Chegg

Chegg is another popular online textbook rental provider. It offers competitive renting prices that can be as low as $4.99. Some print textbooks also include the option to access their e-textbook version while waiting for the physical one. 

If you need to extend your rental you can email Chegg before the due date for a free extension. “Students can also take advantage of the 21-Day Refund Guarantee which allows for free returns within three weeks of ordering should you drop or change classes.”