When it comes to renting or buying college textbooks online, there are so many websites to choose from. These sites make it easy and affordable to get your textbooks delivered straight to your door, without the hassle of going to the campus bookstore and paying full price!
They also eliminate the need to wait in line to sell back your textbooks at the campus bookstore. Gone are the days of selling back your textbooks for just a fraction of what you paid for them. Or, worse yet, being told that your textbook has a new edition, and therefore can not be bought back.
Two of the most popular choices, eCampus and Chegg, provide similar services, but which is better? We’ve compiled a feature by feature comparison of these two popular sites, and we’ll let you decide!
Searching for textbooks.
eCampus allows college students to rent both textbooks and eTextbooks, as well as buy and sell textbooks. Students can easily search for textbooks to rent or buy by title, author, or ISBN number. Each search result includes the ISBN, edition, and copyright date so that students can make sure they’re looking at the correct book. Another useful feature of the search results is the box that includes a price comparison for renting, buying new, and buying used.
Chegg’s search box is much like that at eCampus in that users can search by ISBN, title, or author for both textbooks and eTextbooks. Search results include the same detailed information that is provided on eCampus, as well as a synopsis. Renting and eTextbook options are listed in separate tabs that you must click through to compare.
Rental periods and the ability to purchase.
eCampus offers users three rental periods to fit their unique schedules: short term, quarter, and semester, with the option to extend your rental if needed. Students can even purchase and keep their book at any point during the rental period if they decide it’s an important one to hang on to.
With Chegg, the rental period is a full semester, but a student can extend their rental period or return it early if they need to. Students can purchase the book at any time at a discounted price if they’d like to keep it for future reference. The purchase price will be equal to the list price minus any rental fees that have already been paid.
Shipping and returns.
eCampus offers a number of shipping options, but it’s likely your order will qualify for the free economy shipping for orders over $35.
Returning rentals is made easy with an email reminder of your due date, a prepaid UPS shipping label, and the ability to return in the same box you received them in. You won’t have to trek across campus to sell back your expensive textbooks for pennies anymore!
Chegg is currently offering a coupon code for free standard shipping on orders over $35. Like eCampus, Chegg gives students a prepaid shipping label and the books can be returned in any box. You can also drop off your textbooks at any bookstore labeled as an “Authorized Chegg Affiliate.”
eCampus gives users the opportunity to return a textbook within 25 for any reason, including if you’ve dropped a class.
If you’re not satisfied by the books you receive from Chegg, you can return them within 21 days using the provided box and shipping label. Books must be in the original condition and postmarked by the USPS within 21 days of the day you ordered them in order to receive a full refund. You can also return eTextbooks within 14 days of renting them.
Damage and highlighting.
Both eCampus and Chegg allow students to highlight in rented textbooks, as long as the highlighting isn’t excessive. eCampus defines “excessive highlighting” as more than one third of the text. They may charge you a fee for damaging the book if they find that you have highlighted too much. Neither company permits students to write notes in rented textbooks.
Chegg, on the other hand, will charge you the purchase price of the textbook (this list price minus rental fees you’ve already paid) if you send back a damaged book. Chegg will then return the book to you for a shipping fee, thus making you the owner of the book, or dispose of the book if you prefer.
The eCampus Marketplace is where students can buy new and used textbooks as well as sell their used textbooks. Users simply list their books for free, and the site will take it from there.
When a book is sold, the seller receives the price they listed it for, plus a shipping credit to help them ship the book. eCampus does take 15% commission of each sale, however. Payment is then direct deposited to the seller’s bank account.
Chegg does not have a marketplace like eCampus, but they do offer a “buyback” program from time to time.
Chegg also gives renters a free 28 day trial of Chegg Study when they rent any textbook. Chegg Study is a tool where students can access frequently asked questions and answer keys for thousands of textbooks.
When it comes to site usability and services offered, eCampus and Chegg are almost identical. However, there are some minor policy differences between the two companies that should be taken into consideration. For example, eCampus has three different rental periods, whereas Chegg only has one, plus the option of an extension. eCampus also offers a longer return period for textbooks than Chegg. Chegg seems to have a stricter penalty for damaged textbooks as well. However, students who are looking for extra resources to help them study may find Chegg’s free bonus program Chegg Study helpful.
No matter which site you choose, you can rest assured that you won’t be stuck with piles of useless textbooks for years after graduating college!