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View Full Version : PSA: For Parents of College Freshmen!


ugadog99
07-22-2011, 10:30 AM
I posted this on the Community Board, but I decided to cross post in case some of you never go over there.

This is something I wish I had known two years ago when my DD was a freshman. It would have saved us some money! We didn't find out about it until her second semester and have been doing it ever since. Book Rentals!!! There are several sites that rent college textbooks, and it can save so much! If you are interested in learning more about it, let me know and I'll post the sites we use and all the details I know about it. Most colleges don't want you to know about it, so we didn't know anything until I read about it here on the DIS. Seriously, it is the way to go unless you know for certain that you are going to want to keep the book. :banana:

JenLanDisney
07-22-2011, 10:34 AM
Yes, please post or PM me. Thanks!

Schmoodle
07-22-2011, 10:35 AM
There's no need to keep any books! I kept a bunch from college for 20 years and never touched them until I got rid of them a couple of years ago. Renting is a wonderful idea!
I have a college kid, and didn't know about this. Would you please post the info? and thanks!

csharpwv
07-22-2011, 10:37 AM
I work for a University and we just started renting text books this past year.
Plus, if a student finishes up the class and really thinks that they are going to need the book for reference in future semesters, our book store will sell the book to the student at the used book price, which is about 15% lower than the cost retail cost (minus) the rental fee. So in effect, they apply your rental fee to your purchase, and give you a 15% discount on top of that.

MANY textbooks are also available in electronic copies for use on e-readers!

I started college in the Fall of 2000 - my, how things have changed since then!

ugadog99
07-22-2011, 10:57 AM
The most important piece of advice I can give you is plan to spend a good bit of time shopping around before you actually rent. Prices can change on sites from day to day, especially as the semester gets closer. All rental sites we use offer free return shipping and will also refund the rental (for a certain amount of time) if you drop the class and return the book. Additionally, some let you highlight and some don't. It's never been an issue with us, but make sure you check first. In any given semester, we may use several different sites. It all depends on who has the lowest price. Finally, many history and English classes will use nontraditional textbooks. For those, we just purchase the book (think nonficition type paperback books), but we never use the bookstore. I will also list those sites.

If you just aren't finding a book for some reason, use www.bigwords.com to help find the lowest purchase price possible. Bigwords does not search all the rental sites, though, so use that as a last resort. Also on bigwords, European editions will show, too. There is mixed review on using European editions. They are always cheaper, but some people say they aren't exactly like the US edition and can be confusing to use. Others say it's fine. We've never used anything but US editions, so I'm not sure on that.

Rental sites:
www.collegebookrenter.com
www.bookrenter.com
www.chegg.com
www.campusbookrentals.com

Sites for Purchasing Non Traditional Books:
www.abebooks.com
www.half.com
www.ebay.com
www.amazon.com
www.textbooksrus.com

*NikkiBell*
07-22-2011, 11:04 AM
I think that this is a good idea, but warn education majors against it. As a teacher, I have found myself referring back to my books from college often. I wouldn't be able to do that if I rented them.

LilyWDW
07-22-2011, 11:28 AM
I think that this is a good idea, but warn education majors against it. As a teacher, I have found myself referring back to my books from college often. I wouldn't be able to do that if I rented them.

It really does come down to your major. I have kept ALL my interior design books because I still reference them constantly. It's easier for me to pull out the book when I KNOW the information is in there then to go hunting around for it online (and I spend a lot of time online). So, people should keep some of that in mind when they decide to keep their books or not.

Also, many University bookstores now also have rental programs. So check with your school bookstore as well. I know it has been rolled out for all Barnes and Noble College Stores, both on and off campus sites.

Pre
07-22-2011, 11:45 AM
I think it does matter for your major or course of study. In Undergrad I noticed that a lot of my polisci, english, and history books were actually cheaper if I just bought them used from Amazon. Then in Lawschool it was cheaper to buy them directly from amazon (instead of used from the marketplace). The good thing with Amazon is the free shipping with amazon prime student. Something to consider also is reselling them at the end of the semester. On Amazon you can and it's easy and I was always able to sell my books for about the same price with the highest I lost on one book being $25 (But on a $125 book that's not bad).
Also Coursepacks... I'd skip on buying them. Normally they are just a collection of journal articles that you can get from the journal databases that the university's library subcribes to anyway. Get a list from either the professor or the sylabus on the first day of class of the articles you will need and just read them on your screen.

Fyrefly
07-22-2011, 11:59 AM
I agree it depends on your major and the price. I'm an engineering major and I only sold back one book, because the $ I would get was not worth it and my dad (also an engineer) told me he'd rather eat the cost of my books because I might need them. I have a veritable library under my bed now (though it is a pain to move with them all) but I can look up any topic I need! I've even looked up stuff for friends who got rid of theirs!

But for say, an art history major or an english major (beyond the Manual of Style or something), I can see where this would work.

But beware, the rental places will charge you something like $60 for a $120 book but then with some digging around you might find one used for $85. I personally think $50, $60 is still a lot to rent a book since my bill is going to be in the hundreds anyway what's another $50-100 to keep the books. (Yes I'm even buying my own books now that I'm in grad school so it's not like I'm using my parents' dime to justify it.) So it's not always THAT great a deal.

For some people it would work, for me it doesn't. Also, I want to recommend bookholders.com. It's a consignment shop for textbooks where students set their own buying price and the shop takes a bit of commission. Competition drives the prices down. They have storefronts at the universities where they are set up, but they also ship books. The one downside is since students at the universities with the storefronts are the ones selling their books, you'll find the selection is a bit limited if you want a book that isn't used at any of those schools. But still a great service!

ugadog99
07-22-2011, 12:05 PM
I didn't know about bookholders. Thanks for the information.

On a side note, I was an education major and have three degrees in education. I never used my books past the classes. Of course that was EONS ago, so maybe the books are better now than when dinosaurs roamed!

LilyWDW
07-22-2011, 12:05 PM
I think it does matter for your major or course of study. In Undergrad I noticed that a lot of my polisci, english, and history books were actually cheaper if I just bought them used from Amazon. Then in Lawschool it was cheaper to buy them directly from amazon (instead of used from the marketplace). The good thing with Amazon is the free shipping with amazon prime student. Something to consider also is reselling them at the end of the semester. On Amazon you can and it's easy and I was always able to sell my books for about the same price with the highest I lost on one book being $25 (But on a $125 book that's not bad).
Also Coursepacks... I'd skip on buying them. Normally they are just a collection of journal articles that you can get from the journal databases that the university's library subcribes to anyway. Get a list from either the professor or the sylabus on the first day of class of the articles you will need and just read them on your screen.

I have had the opposite experiences on coursepacks. While they DID include journal articles, they also had many of the notes and diagrams that were used in the class. Without the packs you would not have full access to the materials needed. So, I would say do it as a case by case basis.

kpauley
07-22-2011, 12:23 PM
I use dealoz to find my daughter's books. They have listings from many sources ......ebay, amazon, chegg, half.com etc. and show the new, used, ebook, and rental prices. The prices do flucuate as inventory changes. I've found buying a book in new/like new condition and then selling it back to a place like Amazon can be cheaper than renting. This semester, I found a brand new aeronautics book for $60 and Amazon will buy it back for $50 so the cost to me will end up around $10. The college bookstore wanted $140 new, $105 used, and $50 rental.

BubMunkeyBles
07-22-2011, 12:41 PM
I've used Chegg. For gen eds that have nothing to do with what you're studying as a major its great. A history major doesn't need a huge science book.

nancygirl1
07-22-2011, 02:12 PM
I posted this on the other thread, but thought I would here, too...hope that's okay...

My oldest son is going into his Junior yer in college. For 3 out of the 4 semesters we rented books from

campusbookrentals.com

We saved an average of $250 a semester. There's no selling them back to the school for a 90% loss after buying them new. You just send them back in the prepaid envelope they send you with the books. The rental periods are different based on how long you need them. The return for a full semester is at least 10 days after the end of the semester. Very easy and a huge money saver. They have been fabulous to work with. We had some school issues last semester and they were great to work with. There was a 5% off coupon floating around the internet for them.

I did a lot of shopping around and they were the cheapest out of all the sites. He also rented one from the bookstore, but that was still more than on-line, but ended up being easier at the time. Some of the books were a bit cheaper on other sites at the moment, but the prices do change based on availability. Because the difference in cost wasn't substantial I went with just one site.

It can be a little more work to rent them. The school isn't always forth-coming with the IBN #'s of the books. You need to match that with the book in order to make sure you're getting the correct version. Although, most professors don't care if it is the previous years version. Sometimes it's the covers that are different, but content is mostly the same. They also offer international versions of some of the books, but I wouldn't recommend that. Even though they're pretty much the same book, the schools don't like them.

A great way to save money if you don't mind putting some time into it.

Also, they say that it is okay to mark/write in the books. You can treat it like it's yours regarding notes, etc. they just don't want it returned destroyed. And if you choose to keep it, they will charge you full price. All the books I've rented are in great shape and some have been new.

MinnieGirl33
07-22-2011, 04:24 PM
Just saw an article the other day that Amazon is going to start renting college textbooks for Kindle

http://www.amazon.com/New-Used-Textbooks-Books/b?ie=UTF8&node=465600

http://moneyland.time.com/2011/07/21/how-much-will-students-really-save-using-amazons-e-textbooks/

PudgetteD
07-22-2011, 05:10 PM
Wow, I've been out of the loop for a LONG time! I graduated in '90 and rented most of my books every semester from the bookstore on campus. (I bought the few I knew I'd want to keep). I didn't realize some colleges didn't rent them.

LilyWDW
07-22-2011, 05:19 PM
Wow, I've been out of the loop for a LONG time! I graduated in '90 and rented most of my books every semester from the bookstore on campus. (I bought the few I knew I'd want to keep). I didn't realize some colleges didn't rent them.

It comes down to WHO runs the bookstore sometimes. Is it the college, Barnes and Noble, Follett, or Nebraska? Though, there will be less owned by Nebraska due to their filing of chapter 11 bankruptcy. So don't be shocked if you see a few stores change hands in the near future.

tasha99
07-22-2011, 06:39 PM
I think that this is a good idea, but warn education majors against it. As a teacher, I have found myself referring back to my books from college often. I wouldn't be able to do that if I rented them.

Yup. I kept my books for speech language pathology and even bought some that I couldn't afford when in school (books I got through the library for a term and secondary books etc.)

daisyduck123
07-22-2011, 09:15 PM
DD16 is going to be a freshman at Univ. of Delaware next month.

When we went earlier this month to sign up for her classes, we were given info. about book rentals...much cheaper!! That's definitely what we plan on doing! :thumbsup2

daisyduck123
07-22-2011, 09:18 PM
I think that this is a good idea, but warn education majors against it. As a teacher, I have found myself referring back to my books from college often. I wouldn't be able to do that if I rented them.

:rotfl:

I've experienced the exact opposite.

I've been teaching 20 years so maybe things in the textbooks are different now, but once I was hired & had my own class - I NEVER ONCE referred back to college textbooks.

taekwondo mom
07-23-2011, 07:04 AM
Thanks for all the rental sites and info. :)

drinkme
07-23-2011, 08:56 AM
I checked most of my books out of the library. So, that saved even MORE money! lol.

I did have to buy some of my books (used, if possible), but for most of them, I used the library.

crisi
07-23-2011, 09:07 AM
I checked most of my books out of the library. So, that saved even MORE money! lol.

I did have to buy some of my books (used, if possible), but for most of them, I used the library.

I know a lot of people who did that 25 years ago. The college I went to had a few sets of books in the library for each course, you couldn't check them out of the library, but you could check them out for a few hours at a time and do your studying or reading in the library. I did it for one of the books where we were only going to read a chapter from the entire book (there were other core books in the class).

I also know a lot of people who bought the International editions, which where much cheaper. Had to be careful there because sometimes the exercise numbers didn't match up....but for the most part it was good.

I'm another person who uses my books from college. I seldom bought used (I always discovered the person who owned before me was stupid and highlighted the wrong thing when I tried). There are a few books I really regret having sold back.

ugadog99
07-23-2011, 09:27 AM
:rotfl:

I've experienced the exact opposite.

I've been teaching 20 years so maybe things in the textbooks are different now, but once I was hired & had my own class - I NEVER ONCE referred back to college textbooks.

I'm telling you...the books used now must be WAY better than when I was in school! I NEVER used my college books after I started in my own classroom. In fact, those that I couldn't sell back, I ended up putting in a "professional" section of our school library. They were never touched. In fact, the books are probably boxed away some where at the school collecting tons of dust. :rotfl:

Evi
07-23-2011, 01:57 PM
The best advice I ever received on textbooks was to check the syllabus to make sure of text book before class starts and at the end of the semester go to the class on the 3rd to last class and ask if anyone wants to sell you there book. Heres the thing you can buy the book directly from the student for less then the bookstore will buy it back usually costing you around $30-40 vs the $100-200 plus. I also sold all my textbooks this way showing up to the first day of that class the following semester. Sometimes I made more for my book then it cost me.

The most important thing is to not highlight the books or at the least get an erasable highlighter.

bear_mom
07-23-2011, 02:49 PM
There's no need to keep any books! I kept a bunch from college for 20 years and never touched them until I got rid of them a couple of years ago. Renting is a wonderful idea!
I have a college kid, and didn't know about this. Would you please post the info? and thanks!

I have to say, I needed my textbooks four years after I graduated for the Professional Engineering exam. I know dh (chemical engineer) has some of his old text books at his desk that he references frequently for formulas - he acutally bought a couple a few years after we graduated that he wanted.

Emily

LilyWDW
07-23-2011, 03:18 PM
The best advice I ever received on textbooks was to check the syllabus to make sure of text book before class starts....

This is also a very good tip. I don't know the number of times we would get a textbook request from a department (I used to work in a college bookstore), but then the teacher was wanting a different book... but would never tell us! The student comes in thinking the book we were TOLD was right is what they need... then they get to class and are told they need a different book. Then they get mad at the staff because we gave them the wrong book and don't have the book they need in stock. Well, we don't have the book in stock because no one TOLD us they wanted it!