The Internet has made the process of finding cheap–and even free–textbooks much more convenient and accessible. Hard copy books haven’t completely disappeared from the college scene but students are turning to more favorable options, including downloading digital books and using various textbook websites to compare costs. An additional alternative that’s gaining more popularity on campuses these days is the concept of textbook rental.
Just like renting DVDs from the video store, the idea of renting a textbook for the term often means less commitment, no worries about paying high prices and avoiding the disappointment of selling back books but receiving less than the original purchase price. In order to have a positive experience with textbook rental, newbies will want to keep the following in mind:
Read the Rental Policy In Its Entirety
There’s more to a company’s textbook rental policy than knowing how long you can have the book for. Before initiating this process, it is crucial that students understand their responsibilities as the borrower. This means not just knowing when to have the textbook(s) returned by, but the conditions they must abide by and the consequences/penalties they could possibly encounter.
Take Care of the Book From Day 1
As soon as you receive your textbook rental, inspect the product. Take note of any damage, wear and tear, writing on the pages, etc. If you receive a book in less than ideal condition, let the textbook rental company know right away. Document your claim by taking photos of each issue you notice. Doing so provides proof that you aren’t the one responsible for the damage and will prevent the company from charging you any penalties.
Of course if your books arrive to you in great condition, keep them that way! Rental companies tend to have stiff consequences for renters that damage their products, which could include charging the borrower the full price of the book and/or not allowing them to return it to the company.
Check That the Book is Acceptable by Your Professor
While college professors have no preference as to how their students get their textbooks for class, it is ideal to check and find out if the textbook your professor wants must have the supplemental materials to go with it, such as the CD-ROM that typically comes inserted in the front or back of the book.
Because textbook rental companies don’t usually provide the supplemental materials with their products, it isn’t a good idea to rent the books you need if you know your professor wants you to use those materials during the course of the term. In this situation, you’re better off spending the money to purchase the book with its supplemental materials intact either online or at the campus bookstore.
Time Your Rental Return Properly
It is important to send your rental textbooks back so that it arrives to the company’s warehouse by the designated deadline. Many students forget to account for the days it takes for books to get shipped to its destination, which could lead to late fees if they aren’t mailed off in time.