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New Study by Shows the Average Cost of Textbook Rentals is Down to $27.99, which is 73% Cheaper Than Buying the Typical New Textbook


August 10, 2020 – Online textbook price-comparison site recently ran a data-driven study to find out the most affordable way for students to buy and rent textbooks. The study included the 163 most popular textbooks that students bought or rented over the past year. It compared the average list price, new textbook price, used textbook price, semester rental price, etextbook price, and sell-back price.

The results show the following:

Average List Price (publishers suggested retail price): $123.48

Average New Textbook Price: $103.02

Average Used Textbook Price: $57.23

Average Semester Rental Price: $27.99

Average eTextbook Price: $43.79

Average Sell-Back Price (price a store is willing to buy a textbook for): $21.66

The data shows that the cheapest textbooks are semester-rental textbooks, which have an average cost of $27.99 per book. “This is very interesting because, in previous years, it always made more economical sense to buy used and sell textbooks back at the end of the semester,” said Chris Manns of However, this is no longer the case. The average used-textbook price of $57.23 combined with the average sell-back price of $21.66 yields a total cost to the student of $35.57. “That makes used textbooks that are sold at the end of the semester an average of 27% higher than rented textbooks,” said Manns. When asked why prices had dropped for rentals, Manns theorized, “It’s likely that the increase in competition from online textbook rental companies has driven the cost of rentals down.”

It is important to note from this study that no matter how students want to get cheap textbooks, there are significant savings to be had from using a price-comparison site such as According to a recent study, the average cost of textbooks students need to purchase has risen to $1,168 per year. The average student takes eight classes each year. Based on the data, that means students could instead spend $223.92 (8 X $27.99) per year if they price-compare online and rent their textbooks. That is a savings of over 80%. “I always knew price-comparison shopping saved our customers a lot of money. I just didn’t realize the savings were this significant,” said Manns.

About is a leading free service price comparison textbook website that has been helping save students up to 95% on new textbooks, used textbooks, textbook rentals, and etextbooks for 20+ years by price comparing thousands of online textbook sellers.

Media Contact Info:

Chris Manns, Head of Communications

Office: (757) 753-5926

Related Links:

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