When I was in college, I always bought the cheapest book (used, or searched online for the best deal). Textbook rental was just starting to become main stream when I left school, and now it is a very popular alternative to buying textbooks at the bookstore.
If you're looking for the best deal when it comes to your textbooks, you need to shop online. There are so many more options today and it can be hard to know where to find the best prices.
I wanted to take a look at eCampus, one of the oldest textbook websites that allows you to buy, sell, and rent your textbooks.
How eCampus Textbook Rental Works
First, why are people renting books? Because you only use them for one single class usually and these books can cost $100s! It makes sense not to buy them, so now companies like eCampus are renting them out to students for the quarter or semester.
To rent a book, you simply look for the book you need, and you add it to the cart. eCampus offers several rental terms: Semester, Quarter, or short-term, with semester costing a bit more because of the longer period of time. If your rental book costs more than $35, shipping is free BOTH ways (from them shipping it to you, and you shipping it back)! When you're done with the book, just send it back in the same box with the return label they sent you, and you're all set!
How Long Do Rentals Last?
eCampus offers three rental periods: short term, quarter, or semester. This is helpful if you're just taking a summer class and need a book for 4-8 weeks. You can basically choose the date that fits your schedule - so you can literally send it back the day of your final, or wait a week and send it then.
Can I Get An Extension
If you need an extension, you can easily login to your account and request an extension. You can choose between 15, 30, 60, 90 and 130 days. This is helpful if you find out the next class uses the same textbook as the previous course.
Does Renting Make Sense?
I was doing some price comparisons, and on average, you will save 50% of the used book price by renting, which is an great deal. Plus, it really does take away the stress and hassle of trying to sell your book at the end of the class.
If you didn't want to DIY, you would have to settle for the lowball prices at the college bookstore. If you do DIY, you have to spend time listing your book, packing, and then shipping it out.
While none of that is "hard", it is really nice to just ship your textbook back at the end of the semester.
Other eCampus Services
eCampus also offers the other traditional services of a college bookstore:
Buy: You can buy both new and used books from them, and even eBooks for certain titles. They also offer a marketplace similar to Amazon Textbooks, where individuals can sell their books private party. While doing some comparisons to Amazon, the traditional powerhouse of booksellers, their prices for books is a little higher. However, if you rent a textbook, you easily beat Amazon's prices (even Amazon Marketplace) on every book I checked on.
Sell: eCampus also offers a service where you can sell them back your old textbook. Similar to Gazelle for selling your old electronics, you simply type in the ISBN, and they will give you a quote for what they will offer you for the book. If you accept, you simply print the shipping label (provided for free), and send the book in. Once they receive it, they will send you a check, direct deposit, you you can earn 20% more by keeping it as store credit and using it towards future book rentals.
eTextbooks: eCampus is one of the few online platforms that allows you to access eTextbooks. You have to use their reader (which can be on the computer or on your device), but you can download the book and access it anytime (even offline).
The great thing about eTextbooks is you get instant access. So, if you waited too long to order your book, you can have your eTextbook today. Also, some regular textbooks also offer eAccess - so you can get your book material while you wait for your book to arrive.
If you're looking for an easy and cheap alternative to buying textbooks, I recommend that you check out eCampus for renting books online. There are some great prices that you can't find anywhere else, and eCampus makes it quick and easy to do. And if you're looking for some extra money, check into selling your old textbooks for cash!
How Does eCampus Compare
We have compared the most popular textbook rental services, and eCampus falls in the middle of the pack. If you want to know more about eCampus and other textbook rental services, check out our article on Comparing the Best College Textbook Rental Companies.