Rent Your College Textbooks, Don’t Buy Them!

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Did you know that on average, each college student buys about one tree worth of textbooks each semester? Over the course of a 4 year degree, that is 8 trees being used just for textbooks that students use for a few months at a time! And while the ones that are in good condition at the end of each semester can be sold back to the bookstore and sold as used next year, not all of them get returned – many of them get thrown out. Books that cost $100 are sometimes just tossed aside! Textbook makers really have the market cornered on wasting paper and wasting student’s money. However, I was reading a magazine this weekend and came across a blurb for a company called, which rents textbooks to college students. Brilliant idea, terrible name!

They seem to be doing everything right – they have over a million titles, return shipping is free, the rental fee is a one time fee that looks to be around 60% off the original cost of the book (depending on the title), and they plant a tree (in partnership with Eco-libris, which I wrote about last year) for each book that is rented. Since they have been in business, they have planted over 100 acres of trees; not a bad return for renting books that you have had to buy anyway!

From their website: At Chegg, we love books. We also love the environment. Renting textbooks is a great way to save money and reuse our natural resources. When we realized that 20 million trees a year are consumed for books – 4 million for textbooks alone – we decided it was time to give a little back to Mother Nature. That’s why we plant a tree for every book you rent, buy, sell or donate! Together we can make a difference, one book at a time.

I wish they had a service like this when I was back in college, and I hope it continues to grow and more students start using it. If you are or know of someone going back to college this fall, be sure to let them know about it. Yet another idea that I wish I had thought up that passed me by!

Photo by Plutor

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  1. Saw this post on twitter and what a great idea. I hated buying the books and then you resell them for pennies. I have a stack that high. The college and publishing companies get rich this way. How many trees are cut down for this? Great idea and post but I’m not sure the publishing companies will like the idea.

  2. Chegg is great! I used them last year for several textbooks, and it was nice to be able to just mail them back (prepaid shipping!) when I was done, and not have as many textbooks hanging around my room, untouched at the end of a class.

    Also, check out the Chegg blog –

    Ok, that last bit is slightly-shameless self-promotion, as I write the Chegg blog. But I write with a big focus on environmental issues over there, so I hope you check it out!

  3. That’s fantastic! Unfortunately I’ve just graduated, but my sister still has two years to go and I’ve just sent this to her. Hopefully she’ll be able to make use of it.

  4. We are so happy you stumbled upon Chegg. We are ready for the 2008-2009 school year and are serving 2,100 plus schools this year.
    Order soon as August 19th is the biggest textbook ordering day. As always, we would love to know your feedback once you have tried the service.

    Chegg Support Team Member

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