Before going to college bookstore, consider renting textbooks

Schoolbooks
Schoolbooks

From tuxedos to DVDs and cars, renting something for the short term makes a lot of sense.

For college students spending the annual nationwide average of $700 to $1,100 for textbooks, Chegg.com and sites such as bookrenter.com offer textbook rentals by the quarter or semester, saving students hundreds of dollars each year on books they might otherwise sell back to college bookstores for much less than they paid when classes started.

Students renting from Chegg save 65% to 85% versus buying new books, said Aayush Phumbhra, co-founder of Chegg and senior vice president of operations, in a telephone interview.

"When you sell the book back to the bookstore, you get virtually nothing," Phumbhra said. A bookstore might pay 30% of the list price, and won't buy a book back if it already has enough in stock, he said.