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Save Lots Of Money By Buying, Selling, And Renting Textbooks Online

4 minute read

By Ryan Pratt

Many people forget how much textbooks can cost, given all of the expenses necessary to prepare for higher education. However, parents and students no longer need to shell out hundreds of dollars on college textbooks.

A variety of online platforms specialize in selling and renting textbooks. So, let’s look at the best ways to buy, sell, and rent textbooks online – plus, how much money you can save!

The Books (And Costs) Pile Up

College and university students spent an annual average of between $628 and $1,471 on books and supplies during the 2021-2022 academic year. That’s a lot of money that many families forget to factor into their budgets.

The reason textbook costs range so much is because hard copy books and titles on niche subjects tend to be more expensive. The average hard copy book costs between $80 and $150, which explains why even part-time students spend so much on textbooks.

A Cheaper Alternative

The price of textbooks often feels like a ripoff, not only because tuition is so expensive, but because students only require these resources for a short while. Luckily, a number of e-commerce companies have sprouted up to address this issue.

Online platforms like Amazon, Chegg, and Valore Books have created marketplaces whereby readers can buy, sell, and even rent textbooks. We’ll discuss each option and their associated costs below!


This popular e-commerce website provides a place for individuals and businesses to sell and rent textbooks. Sellers list their textbooks for sale on Amazon, setting the price and handling the shipping process. Amazon then takes a fee for facilitating the transaction.

Amazon also partners with textbook rental companies to offer students the option to rent physical textbooks for a lower cost. Renters can choose from a variety of rental periods and the rental company then ships the textbook to the student. After the rental period, the student returns the textbook to the rental company.

How Much Does Amazon Charge?

For sellers, that depends on their subscription plan as well as the type of product being sold. Individual sellers who don’t have a Professional Selling Plan can expect a per-item fee of $0.99 for each textbook sold. There is also a referral fee, which can range from 6 percent to 45 percent of the item’s total sale price.

Those who invest in a Professional Selling Plan, meanwhile, pay a monthly subscription fee of $39.99, in addition to the referral fee mentioned above.

For textbook rentals, Amazon’s fee will depend on the length of the rental period, plus the demand for the title. Renters can compare options and prices from different companies on Amazon’s textbook rental page to find the best deal. Be sure to keep an eye out for shipping costs, which are not included in the rental fee.


Chegg is an online rental company that allows you to rent and sell physical textbooks. The company also provides access to digital textbooks online. Renters can choose from a variety of rental periods and Chegg ships the textbook to them. After the rental period, renters return the textbook. Chegg also takes care of shipping by including a prepaid return shipping label, which is a nice touch.

If you’re more interested in offloading textbooks, Chegg also has an option that allows readers to sell textbooks back to them. Chegg evaluates the condition of the textbook and offers a price based on the value of the textbook. The seller then receives payment after Chegg receives the textbook.

Unlike Amazon, Chegg also provides access to digital textbooks, which can be rented or purchased through its eTextbook platform. Rental rates of online textbooks start at $4.99, but vary depending upon the title and rental period. At least there’s no shipping fees here!

Valore Books

Valore Books is another website that helps students save money on college textbooks. Much like Chegg, it allows you to rent and sell physical textbooks for a fraction of the cost of purchasing them. The fees involved in renting textbooks varies by title and rental period. However, one-way shipping costs $3.95 per item and is free upon return.

This online marketplace also allows students to sell college textbooks back at the highest buy-back prices online. That means Valore Books can price-match the competition to ensure its seller is adequately reimbursed. Thanks to its customer-friendly policies, the platform has an enormous used library to explore.

Easy And Affordable

These companies are convenient and easy to use. In most cases, you can browse for cheap textbooks by ISBN, title, author, or keyword. You can also compare prices, rental periods, and shipping options before making a decision.

Buying used textbooks and later reselling them is an amazing way to save money. While free textbooks may not exist quite yet, these rental and digital platforms are offering the cheapest textbooks by far. In the process, students and their families are saving a small fortune.

Shutterstock: Oleggg

Ryan Pratt



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