Each semester, college students across the country spend hundreds of dollars for classroom textbooks that are only useful for those four months. The discouraging pattern is common at every school, private and state schools included. There is a smarter way to acquire the necessary textbooks, but the books must be kept in good condition and returned after use.

Renting textbooks is the latest phenomenon sweeping colleges across the nation. It is an alternative to buying costly textbooks at local bookstores.

At Rhode Island College, book renting is available online through the Web site bookrenter.com, which caters to 260 colleges across the nation. The book is ordered at the beginning of the semester, and it must be returned once the class is completed.

The process is simple and it saves students a substantial amount of money.

The amount varies according to the textbook, but it is usually significant. For example, one college text is “Thinking Mathematically” by Robert Blitzer, a required text book for Math 139. The 2010 edition costs $140.75, which can be more than a college student’s weekly paycheck. However, renting the same exact book on Bookrenter will only cost $61.35, saving a student $79.

read more: Save money: Rent your textbooks instead – The Anchor – News.