Textbooks are unlike any other books other there—they’re extremely pricey and most of the time, are mandatory for your college classes. Any one who’s gone through university would be able to tell you that these texts typically cause a great deal of damage to your wallets. For every course that you’re taking in a semester, you’re probably looking at around one to two books, depending to your professor; multiply that amount by the total classes that you’re taking per term and it can add up way too fast—and that’s not even for a year! Sure, there’s no doubt that these educational books play a crucial part in our learning but do they really have to put such hefty price tags on them?
In order to save money, many students decide to buy textbooks second hand—this way, you don’t have to pay the ridiculous retail prices for something that you’ll only end up going through once. Most campus book stores offer used books at a discounted amount; however it’s not uncommon for them to be falling apart after years of use—especially if you’re the last one to the shelf. Not to mention the long lineups that you usually have to stand at to pay for said used books.
Another option is to buy used textbooks directly from either Craigslist or a Textbook Exchange group; the good thing about this is that you can ask the seller to send you photos of the text so that you’d know exactly what condition the book is in. Students tend to be eager to unload their texts from their previous classes so typically you should have no problem finding the ones that you need. As an added bonus, you don’t even need to pay added fees such like tax, just straight cash.
However there’s another alternative to textbooks that has been growing increasingly more popular the past few years—textbook rentals. It’s similar to buying a used copy, in that you do not have to pay the retail prices. However, you’re also not stuck with it after your finals exams; you simply return it back to where you got it from—and you’re done. No headaches about having to try to sell it to someone else to try to get a portion of your money back; you rent it, use it, and then return it.
With the option of textbook rentals becoming more and more widespread, there’s bound to be a number of choices available as to where to make such rentals. In this particular article, we’ll be talking about eCampus—a Kentucky-based company which offers book rentals to thousands of students across the country.
Overview and History of eCampus.com
Originally founded on July 2nd, 1999 with the help of numerous investors, ECampus was built and established from scratch within a period of eight months during the late 1990’s. At the time, the website was launched as the country’s first online textbook retailer to offer texts at discounted prices to college students and their parents. Swiftly growing to become one of the most well known online textbook retailers on the net, ECampus has since shipped over 1000 million texts over the years.
Considered by many to be the number one source of college textbooks, ECampus has won numerous awards including having been included in the list of “Top 500 Websites” by Internet Retailer as well as being voted for the Reader’s Choice Award for “The Best Website for Buying College Textbooks.” Putting the interests of the students as their top priority, the company’s mission is to provide them access with the most inexpensive study materials available, so that they may enjoy their college experience.
ECampus first announced their textbook rental program in the fall of 2009, a year after their groundbreaking partnership with the online textbook provider, CourseSmart. This newly found system allowed students to rent their texts for a minimal fee, all while still being able to have complete control of the process. With their enormous inventory of college textbooks, ECampus remains to be one of the best options available for students who are interested in saving hundreds of dollars every semester.
How do I Rent a Textbook from Ecampus.com?
If you’re worried that textbook rentals are going to be a hassle—don’t be. The whole process is simple and straightforward, let’s go over how to rent a book for their website.
To search for your textbook, simply type in its title, author or ISBN into the main search bar. After pressing the “Find Books” button to its right, you should be brought to a page of results; assuming that you’ve entered the information about your book correctly and that it’s available, you should see it at the top of the list. When you’re typing into the search bar, the system also presents you with a list of suggested books, so if you see the one that you’re after on there, you can also click into its page from that link.
Once you’re on the textbook’s detailed page, you should see a hard-to-miss blue box on the right. In it should be a list of rental prices, along with their corresponding rental periods (eg. semester, quarter, short term). At the bottom of the box, you can also see how much the book would cost you, should you decide it to it new from ECampus. Click the orange “Add to Cart” button and you will be at your shopping cart; to proceed and pay for your rental, press the green “Proceed to Checkout” button (remember to select the appropriate rental period for your book in the dropdown menu!).
Afterwards, you will be prompted to either sign in or create an account; you can then proceed to pay securely via credit card or Paypal. With that, Ecampus will process your order and ship off your textbook within two business days (for an accurate estimation, please check the items availability). Shipping is also free for any orders over $59 so chances are you won’t have to pay anything for it to get to your front door! See? That wasn’t so difficult!
When you’re done with the textbook, returning it is just as simple (just be sure to do it before its due date to avoid late fees)! To do so, login to your account to access the “My Account” page; from there, click on the “Manage My Rentals/Returns” link and select the option, which says “Return My Rental For Free.” At this point, you should see a list of the books which you’ve borrowed from Ecampus—choose the one that you’d like to return and click on the “Print Label and Complete Return Button.”
Now all that’s left is to print out the page that it gives you and to put the shipping label outside of the box and the packing insert inside the box. That’s right, you don’t have to pay anything to return the textbook—it’s FREE, no charges whatsoever! With it all packed up and ready to go, you just have to drop it off at your closest UPS location and you’re done! We told you it’d be easy!
Remember, you have total control of the process; so if you ever want to extend the length of the rental, you can do that! Just sign onto your account, select the “Purchase or Extend” option from the “Manage My Rentals/Return” page and choose the number of extra days, which you’d like for the textbook from the dropdown menu (eg. 15, 30, 60, 90 and 130 days). You will be billed for a small extension fee, but for what you’re getting, it’s probably worth it. It might be a good idea to write down your new due date on a piece of paper or set a reminder on your phone so that you won’t forget about returning your book by then!
eCampus’ Unbeatable Pricing
At Ecampus, you can rest assured knowing that you will be getting some of the best prices available for your textbooks. In fact, you can save up to 90% simply by renting them on their website! If you ask me, that’s a whole lot of money waiting to be saved. On average, the rental fee for a book is less than one third of that of the retail price. Let’s look at an example—right now, the textbook “Essentials of Physical Anthropology” is available for purchase for $169.75, but to rent it, you only have to pay $52.50!
Another awesome thing that they offer on their website is the eWards system. First made available in August 2012, the system gives every customer 50 reward points when they sign up for the website. For every rental (or purchasing and selling), he or she is then given additional points—which can then be used to redeem a number of gift cards of varying values. With eWards, you can save up to $20 off of your textbook rentals! Looking back at our previous textbook example, with the $20 gift card applied, that means you’d be able to rent the book for just $32.50—now that’s value!
In addition to their already unbeatable prices, eCampus also offers a handful of promotional coupons from time to time—so make sure you check out their coupons page (accessible from the bottom of the main page) before renting any books! For example, right now they have a coupon, which gives customers a 5% discount for any order.
eCampus’ Hassle-Free 21 day Return Policy
To ensure that customers are given the best possible experience with their services,
Ecampus also offers a textbook guarantee—which allows students to return a text for any reason at all for a full refund (minus a minor 10% restocking fee), within 25 days. If you’d like to request a refund, you can do so by heading over to the “Manage My Rentals/Returns” page in your account and hitting the “Return for a Refund” option for the chosen book.
Upon doing so, you’ll be presented with a shipping label, which you can then use to return the textbook back to eCampus by slapping it on the box and sending it off at your local USP. Don’t forget to also include the packaging slip inside the box too! It may take up to 3-5 business days for the refund to be added back into your account after it arrives at its return address.
If you ever run into any trouble with the returning process, the support team of eCampus would be happy to help you out!
eCampus’ Customer Service and Support Team
Speaking of a customer service team, eCampus has a wonderful team of staff that’s trained and always ready to assist you. Should you ever have any questions about your rental order, or anything for that matter, you can get in contact with them via their online chat—which is conveniently available every weekday from 8:30am to 6:00pm EST. To find the link for the chat, just press “Help Desk” located at the top right corner of the main page.
Alternatively if you’d like to speak with a representative of eCampus on the phone, you can reach them at 1-877-ECAMPUS (322-6787) during the same hours from Monday to Friday.
If the issue is not as urgent, or if you’ve run into trouble over the weekend when their offices are closed, you can always send them an email message via their Contact Form. Just leave your contact information as well as a summary of the issue and they’d be happy to help sort things out for you as soon as they receive it!