Rental Faqs | The Columbia University Bookstore
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  • What is Textbook Rental?

    Textbook Rental is simple! Now at your campus bookstore, you can rent the textbooks you need for the semester, then return them at the end of the term.

  • How much do I save with Textbook Rental?

    Renting textbooks saves you on average 50% when compared to a new, printed textbook.

  • How do I pay for my Textbook Rental?

    Most forms of payment currently accepted at the bookstore can also be used for rentals. We do require a credit card be kept on file, even if you pay with a different method. Why? Just in case you win the lottery and forget to return your book, we'll need to charge you for it (refer to section on Fees).

  • Why do you need a credit card if I am paying for the rental some other way?

    If the textbook is returned after the due date, or is damaged, we use the credit card on file to pay for a replacement book and non-return processing fee, as described in your Rental Agreement. We want you to bring the book back so we don't have to charge you!

  • If my bookstore accepts financial aid, can I use it to pay for a Textbook Rental?

    Yes, you can use your financial aid to pay for your Textbook Rental. However, you will still need to keep a credit card on file with us in order to rent a book.

  • How long is the rental period?

    The rental period begins the day you pay for the Textbook Rental and continues until the the last day of Finals, as shown on your Order Confirmation. All rented textbooks must be returned to the bookstore, in good condition, by the Rental Return Due Date. Textbook Rentals returned via mail must be postmarked by the Rental Return Due Date.

  • Can I return my books by mail?

    Yes! Just use the return shipping label available online. We recommend if you're returning multiple books, to place them in one box so that you only need one shipping label. Depending on store hours, you can also just drop off your books at the bookstore. Please see the link at the bottom of the page to access the rental return shipping label.

  • How do I know which books are available as rental?

    Simple! We post the list of Textbook Rentals on the bookstore website and in the bookstore. Plus if you're shopping in the bookstore, look for signs in the book aisle. Online, it's really easy - if we're renting a textbook, the "Rental" option will display in your book list alongside "New" and/or "Used" (if available). Just check the box and follow the instructions.

  • What happens if I drop a class?

    The drop/add policy for rented books is the same as for purchased books. Return the book to the bookstore within the allowed period along with drop/add documentation. If you return your book via mail, it must be postmarked within the allowed drop/add return period, and must include a copy of the drop/add documentation along with your book.

  • Can I get a refund if I don't drop a class?

    Yes! The same return policy applies to rented textbooks as to purchased textbooks. Assuming, of course that you have your receipt, and return the textbook in good condition, along with any components such as CDs, etc. that were included with the textbook when you rented it. If you return your book via mail, it must be postmarked within the refund period allowed by your bookstore.

  • Can I buy my rented textbook?

    Yes! If you decide you want to keep your rental book, you can opt to buy at any time during your rental period, unless the rental book is identified as a 'Rental Only' title, which is not available for purchase at any time.

  • Can I mark up the inside of the book with a highlighter or make notes in the margins?

    Normal use of highlighting and writing is permitted. The bookstore will use the same standards for determining acceptable condition of rental textbooks that it uses for determining condition of books sold back as used books.

  • Can the bookstore refuse to accept my Textbook Rental when I return it?

    Yes, the bookstore can refuse to accept your rental book if it is not returned in good condition. Good condition will be judged by the bookstore alone, and generally means book spine intact, no excessive damage to cover or contents, all original pages intact, all original components present, and no excessive highlighting, writing or other markings. Normal-use highlighting and writing is permitted. If the bookstore determines your book to be not acceptable for return, then you will be charged for a replacement copy and a non-return processing fee.

  • What happens if I do not return the book by the due date?

    The card on file will be charged a replacement and non-return processing fee. The replacement cost and non-return processing fee will be charged to the credit card on file. The book will be yours to keep. The Replacement Cost is 75% of the New book price at the time of purchase. The non-return processing fee is 7.5% of the New book price at the time of purchase. These fees are in addition to the rental fee.

  • What happens if I lose a rented textbook?

    You will be charged the replacement cost plus the non-return processing fee for any book not returned to the bookstore, regardless of the reason. These fees are in addition to the rental fee.

  • How much are the fees?

    Replacement Cost is 75% of the selling price of your book at the time of purchase.

    Non-return processing fee is 7.5% of the selling price at the time of purchase.

    These fees are in addition to the rental fee.

  • What if I forget when the rental is due?

    As a courtesy, we will send a reminder notice to the email address you provided during your rental checkout and on your rental agreement. However, it is your responsibility to return the book by the due date even if you do not receive this email. Please remember that rental books are due back - or must be postmarked by - the last day of Finals.

Please feel free to contact your bookstore at any time with questions.

Please click here to request a return label.

Please click here to review our Rental Agreement.



We work closely with your professors to ensure we only sell the editions they use in the classroom, saving you time and stress about finding it yourself.


Don't stick with a class just because you bought the books. Return them during the add/drop period of the semester for a full refund.


On the fence about buying books for a class? We let you know what's required on Day 1 and when to wait to purchase. Service you won't find anywhere else.



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