Textbook rentals online are primarily provided via two distinct methods: 1) standard, one-time, pay-per-use rental fees, and 2) monthly rental fees. These options have some similarities, but each also has exclusive characteristics that yield both advantages and disadvantages. Make the most of your time and money by understanding how the two methods compare.

Whether you are paying one-time rental fees or incurring monthly charges, you are bound to save money over buying when you rent textbooks online. You will never have to pay a full retail price for a book (unless you damage or lose it), and you won t be troubled with having to sell a used book once it is no longer needed. You ll simply find the book you want, use it for only the time you need, and you ll pay a fraction of its retail price. Renting can save you time and money, and to truly make the most of your rental experience, you should know the differences between the two prevailing rental methods.

Standard rental fees
All of the companies we reviewed, except for one (Skoobit), provide their textbooks through standard, one-time rental fees. This rental model is flexible and does not require as much user commitment as a subscription-based model. Users can typically select from an assortment of rental periods for each book, e.g. full semester, half semester, summer session, etc. For those that may need to keep the books longer than the rental period, extensions can usually be taken advantage of for discounted rates. Students that frequently change their books and/or have less predictable textbook needs may find standard rental fees easier to deal with.

Monthly rental fees
Skoobit is setting the standard for subscription-based textbook rentals online. Instead of paying a one-time rental fee for each book, users can choose from a variety of monthly rate plans to satisfy their textbook rentals needs. Generally speaking, prices per month get lower when renting for longer durations, and prices per month get higher as the number of books rented increases. For reference, review Skoobit s monthly plans:

  $13.99 per month per book (3 months)
  $10.99 per month per book (4 months)
  $59.99 per month, up to 6 books (4 months)
  $79.99 per month, up to 8 books (4 months)
  $34.99 per book, limit 3 books (45 days summer)

To truly take advantage of Skoobit, you must be aware of how many textbooks you need and for how long, and plan accordingly. If you are trying to save money, the last thing you want to be doing is paying for books that you will not even be using. So, while online textbook rentals services like Skoobit can certainly save you money, it may take a bit more forethought to truly get the most out of them.

Once you decide that renting textbooks is the best option for you, take the time to decide which rental method best fits your situation.

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