Book Rental

Buying Vs. Renting

Book Rental Pro

Put simply, the biggest “pro” is price up front. Barnes & Noble at UNC Charlotte’s new rental program offers texts at 45% of the price of a new book. For a $100 book, that would be $45. Saving $55 is a good deal. 

Book Rental Con

Honestly consider the likelihood that at the end of the semester you will return your rented books by the date you specified in your rental agreement. Are you one of those people who tends to rack up overdue fines on library books? Don’t get videos back to the Redbox on time? Then maybe renting isn’t your best choice. When a rented book is not returned within the required time frame, you’ll be charged the full price of the book, plus a penalty fee (standard practice in any book rental program). You’ll lose what you’ve saved and that $100 book could end up costing you about $125. Ouch.

Book Purchase Pros

If that $100 textbook is bought used, it will cost $75; a 25% savings. If that book is adopted for use for the next semester, you can sell it back at the end of the semester and likely get 50% back what you paid. In the above example (which is common) you would have used the text for a semester at a net cost of $37.50. That’s less than renting. Barnes & Noble at UNC Charlotte makes cashing in books easier with remote buy-back stations all around campus during the end-of-semester buy-back period. Right here – cash for books, done. Should you accidently ruin your textbook no worries; it’s yours. Should you decide to keep it and not sell it back, that’s your prerogative.

Book Purchase Con

If the professor doesn’t adopt the book for use the next semester, then the book may not be worth much and buy-back will yield less.

Other Considerations

Book prices and the frequency at which new editions are released is determined by publishers and not every book is suitable for rental. For example, books packaged with software, access codes, or those containing loose or perforated pages are not eligible for the program.

Need more information?

Write Greg McCambridge, UNC Charlotte Business Services’ licensing and bookstore contract manager, at

Barnes & Noble Vs. Other Rental Companies

What edition?

With Internet rental programs, securing the right edition is incumbant on you the consumer, not the textbook rental supplier. Will you receive the most current edition? You can be assured that textbooks on the campus bookstore’s rental roster are exactly what your instructor specified.

The return process

Toward the end of the semester, Barnes & Noble at UNC Charlotte will send you a courtesy email, reminding you of the return deadline. Then, when you’re finished with exams, just drop your rented books off at the bookstore in the Student Union. An online text provider will require you to pack rented textbooks into a box and schlep them to the Post Office or UPS. What’s easier for you?

No other store supports UNC Charlotte more!

Patronizing the campus bookstore helps support other students and a lot of the events and activities you enjoy. In fact, proceeds from the bookstore:

  • fund scholarships
  • provide on-campus employment to 100+ students each year
  • help build and maintain new facilities like the Student Union and football stadium
  • support programs like SOAR, Homecoming, Athletics and more

Sure, it’s possible to save two or three percent if renting books from an online company, but what do they do for your school?