Books and course materials can add up. According to one study, the average student spends between $628 and $1,471 annually on books and supplies.
Hard copy books can run as high as $400, with average prices between $80 and $150. Additionally, the cost for each new addition increases an average of 12%.
Using online book retailers like eCampus can help you reduce costs by renting your textbooks and study materials online. eCampus offers digital books, physical books, and has a buy back program for books you no longer need and want to sell.
There are plenty of online textbook sites like Amazon, Chegg, and Campus Books Rental. What sets eCampus apart from the rest?
- Buy, sell, or rent your textbooks online
- Free shipping on orders of $35 and eTextbooks
- Instant access to electronic books and free return shipping
What Is eCampus.com?
eCampus is a textbook rental retailer based out of Lexington, Kentucky. A pioneer in the textbook industry, the site has been around since 1999.
Today, eCampus continues to provide used and new electronic textbooks for sale and rent, study materials, and book buyback services. Electronic textbooks, or e-books for short, are digital books that can be purchased and read on e-reader devices.
The company recommends you download the Bookshelf app from VitalSource to access your e-books. Here are links:
The company also partners with various colleges, universities, and K-12 schools.
How eCampus.com Works
The process is easy. Go to the site and do a search for the book you need. You have to do an ISBN, or International Standard Book Number, search to ensure you find the correct book. There are likely tons of books with the same title or similar ones.
The site allows you to make comparisons for the price of the book through their other sellers on the marketplace. From there, you can choose the length of time you want to rent it. The site offers renting options from an entire semester or shorter. You also have the option to buy the book brand new or in an e-book format.
When you sign up, you have access to eCampus’ coupons. Some books even ship for free. Just be sure to check the estimate for how long it will take to be delivered.
You can use PayPal or your credit card to purchase from eCampus. Also they give you e-book versions of your textbook for seven days with an access code. This gives you time to catch up on reading while you wait for your book to arrive.
After your books arrive, you are allowed to highlight up to one-third of the book or make notes in the book, but be wary. The company charges for any excessive damage that makes the book not rentable.
Returning Your Book To eCampus
When you’re ready to return, eCampus recommends putting the book inside any type of box. The return shipping labels are provided ahead of time so all you have to do is drop it off at the post office.
You can also get an extension. You do this by logging into your account and choosing how long you want to extend the rental for. It can be anywhere from 15 to 130 days.
If you want, you have the choice of buying the book as well. You do this by contacting eCampus’ customer service team before the due date.
Selling Your Books on eCampus
eCampus offers instant quotes for books you want to get rid of. They accept textbooks, novels, biographies, and non-fiction. If you’re unsure, you can check. The site says they take “almost anything else on our bookshelf.”
eCampus recommends sending in books that are clean and not marked, if possible. They do accept books with your handwritten notes or highlights in them, but anything excessive likely won’t get accepted.
Consider selling earlier than later, so as soon as you’re done, ship it over before new editions of the book are released.
Their marketplace has a large volume of people who may want to buy your book. You must fill out a quick application with your name and email address before you sell.
Similar to finding a textbook, you put in the ISBN number. According to the site, you can get more from eCampus than what your school bookstore offers.
When you sell your textbooks to them, shipping is always free. Just print the label from eCampus and all you do is send them your books.
You can get paid through PayPal, check, ACH, or get in-store credit.
There’s also something called a marketplace seller. These are for people that have a lot of books to sell. If this is you, you may be able to sell directly to other students. When you got his route, eCampus claims 15% commission.
eCampus also provides you with a shipping credit so you can have the costs covered when you ship. There are no other fees or hidden costs involved with becoming a marketplace seller and you can receive payments via direct deposit.
Must read: The best places to sell your textbooks in 2023.
How eCampus Compares
Of course there’s Amazon. You may be able find a less expensive option for books there, but keep in mind the shipping times may differ. eCampus often ships their books out within 24 hours while Amazon may take anywhere from five to eight days.
If you use eCampus, be sure to understand the length of time it takes to ship. Some online reviewers of eCampus left negative reviews because their materials did not come on time.
Another factor to consider is the cost of shipping. eCampus won’t charge you but you have to spend more than $35 while Amazon Prime offers free shipping. Most books will run you more than $35, so while this won’t be a problem, it could be if you have a smaller order.
Starting April 1, 2023, Amazon is no longer offering print textbook rentals, so this is another consideration if you're thinking of using Amazon.
The other big site to consider is Barnes and Noble. Like eCampus, they require a $35 order for you to qualify for free shipping.
Chegg is another option. They are known for renting textbooks and according to their site, you can save up to 90% on textbooks from their library of 750,000 books. They offer 21-day refunds on returns, but don’t have a buy-back option like eCampus does.
Instead, Chegg offers students a subscription for Expert Learning Support, which offers things like homework help and exam prep and practice, that starts at $15.95 a month.
$35 order minimum
$35 order minimum when promotions are being offered
$25 order minimum or
Amazon Student membership
Rental Extension Period
15, 30, 60, 90, 130 days
How to Contact eCampus
There are no phone numbers listed to speak to a live customer service agent.
Is eCampus Worth It?
eCampus can definitely be worth it if you’re looking for ways to cut costs in your college life. Books are a big part of learning, but can also come with a costly price tag if you’re always going to the campus bookstore to buy them.
Also, the company’s reviews on TrustPilot are mostly positive, with over 2,000 reviews and a 4.2 rating.
Since eCampus has been around since the ‘90s and has a huge volume of inventory, the chances of finding your books and course materials are high. Also, when you’re done, you have the option of selling your books back.
Buy, sell, and rent textbooks
Physical or digital
Must have an order of $35 to qualify for free shipping. Always free for textbook sellers and on rental returns.
eTextbook Rental Periods
Customer Service Options
Mobile App Availability
Get $5 Off Your Order
Text BOOKS to 87955
eCampus Textbook Review
eCampus is one of the oldest online textbook retailers that help students purchase and rent electronic textbooks and study materials. They also offer buyback services so you can sell your used books back to them.
- Lower cost for expensive college textbooks and study materials
- Free return shipping
- You have the option to rent eTextbooks from 120 days to a lifetime
- No cash back from Buybacks
- You’re responsible for any damage to physical textbooks
- Sometimes, shipping is late or may take several weeks
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him on the About Page or on his personal site RobertFarrington.com.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared toward anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
Editor: Claire Tak