Buy or Rent Textbooks?


Jeffrey Davis, Photo Editor

College textbooks continue rising in price. . .among other things. (Ahem. Parking permits).

So, don’t buy them. Plenty of alternatives exist.

Instead, use the cash you save for other college life essentials like food, gas, rent, booze, etc.


Take advantage of your school facilities like the Kellogg Library. If you can’t check the book out, the library is open from 6:00 am to 12:00 am, Monday through Thursday.

Even off campus, the public libraries in the surrounding communities might carry the book you need. The San Marcos Branch Library is a couple miles away and the Carlsbad City Library hosts an online database, so you can check out texts from home.


Internet resources like and provide students with a cheaper rental option as well. As partners with American Forests’ Global ReLeaf, preserves the environment by planting a tree with every order and the customer gets to decide where.


There are also certain services which allow the reader total access to their books immediately on their computer, tablet, and/or smart phone. Renting eBooks also means carrying less in your book bag.

The physical strain of carrying heavy textbooks can worsen the mental pressure of college, and drain you of the energy you need to learn and study. Not to mention the feeling of being bogged down by the books if you’re moving out multiple times during your college years.

You may change your major and be stuck with books that no longer benefit you. Plenty of general education classes will require texts that you’ll never read again. The Japanese call it, “Tsundoku” — letting books pile up, unread, on shelves or floors or nightstands.

When you purchase an overpriced textbook, you choose to support the few dominant textbook companies that have been exploiting students for decades.

So, thank you, Cengage Learning and Pearson Education for encouraging students to get creative.