Winter Sale! 10% Discount off any order. Get the code »

How to Rent Textbooks, Books, and More

Renting books from our marketplace is easy

Worry-Free Guarantee for rentals  

NOTE: Read the Purchase Satisfaction Guarantee and Returns Policy if you're inquiring about purchased items instead of rentals.

Rentals are guaranteed in these ways, so you can rent from Alibris and rest assured:

  • You may return your rented book within 21 days of its rental date, for any reason.
  • All books are quality US Editions, and guaranteed against excessive damage and missing pages.

Return a rental within 21 days for a refund like this:

  1. If you've received a pre-labeled return kit, place your book inside, and drop it off at the nearest post office.
  2. If you haven't received your pre-labeled return kit yet, simply access Your Account, print your return-shipping label, affix it to your own box with your book securely packaged inside, and drop it off at the nearest post office.

Please allow up to two weeks for a refund to appear on your credit card. Learn more about rental returns in our rental terms and conditions.

Returning rented books 

If you want to return a rented book within 21 days of its rental date, see our Worry-Free Guarantee.

When it's time to return your rented book at the end of your rental period, please do the following:

  1. Place the book inside your pre-labeled return kit, and drop the package off at the nearest post office. That's it!
  2. If you've misplaced your return kit, or haven't received it, returning is still simple. Simply do the following:
    • Access Your Account, print your FREE return-shipping label, and affix it to your own box.
    • Package your book by itself—and well enough to prevent shipping damage.
    • Drop it off at the nearest post office.

IMPORTANT STUFF: Read the following to ensure that your return is processed correctly:

  • REQUIRED return-shipping labels: Each rented book has its own return-shipping label and must be shipped via its assigned label and be individually packaged. If you send a rented book with the wrong shipping label or use any other shipping method, you may be charged the full replacement price for that book
  • Early rental returns: If you want to return a rented book within 21 days of its rental date, please read our Worry-Free Guarantee.
  • Multiple returns to the same seller: If you've rented more than one book from the same seller, you must still package and return the books separately, using each book's assigned shipping label. You'll have a tracking number for each one, which will protect you in case of loss in transit.
  • Multiple returns to multiple sellers: Our marketplace rents and sells books from thousands of independent booksellers across the country. If you've rented more than one book, you must return the right book to the right seller. This information will be clearly communicated on the return label you print for each book.

Your rental period  

The rental period begins on the date your rental order is placed. Since the last thing you want to worry about is returning your book during finals, you have a 15 day grace period at the end of the rental period to get the book back on time.

IMPORTANT STUFF: If your book is not received by the end of the grace period, you will be charged for the purchase of the book and it will be yours to keep. To learn the price of your book, go to Your Account, select the book, and then click the "Details about this item" link.

TIP FOR YOU: To prevent late returns, be sure to mark the due date on your calendar and watch for the e-mails we'll send you about your approaching deadlines.

Learn more in our rental terms and conditions.

Receiving rented books 

The books you rent will be shipped by an expedited method within one business day of your order date. Once your rented book ships, we'll e-mail you its tracking number; this information will also be available in Your Account.

TIP FOR YOU: If your rental appears to be delayed in transit, please contact its shipping carrier first, since they'll know best about its whereabouts. We do our best to accurately estimate delivery dates, but the actual date is out of our control. (Of course, if your book fails to arrive, please contact customer service.).

Separate cart for rentals 

If you add both a purchase item and a rental item to your cart, you'll see them categorized accordingly. We separate rental items and purchase items in the cart because it's necessary for rental items to be ordered separately, which is why you'll also see a separate "Rental Checkout" button.

Loss or damage of rentals 

While you are renting a book, you are responsible for protecting it from loss or damage. Normal wear and tear is OK. Here's the difference:

  • Normal rental wear and tear is, well, normal. A small amount of highlighting and margin notes within reason are acceptable. After all, your rented book is there to help you with your studies. But please be respectful of others who may use the book after you.
  • Damage to a rental includes anything that would prevent another customer from being able to fully use and enjoy the rental—like torn, stained, or missing pages.

IMPORTANT STUFF: If your rented book is lost, stolen, or damaged, you'll be charged the full replacement price of the book. To learn the replacement price of your book, go to Your Account, select the book, and click the "Details about this item" link.

TIP FOR YOU: You may acquire an identical book and send it back as your rental return as it will serve as a replacement. That way, you can avoid being charged as noted in the preceding paragraph.

PayPal unavailable for rentals 

PayPal cannot currently be used for rental orders, but this payment method may be offered in the future. Please check back later, and feel free to place a secure order with a different method at this time.

Keeping a rented book 

If you decide to keep your rented book, please contact its seller and arrange a purchase. You can contact the seller in Your Account. Unless you negotiate a different price with the seller, you'll be charged the price of the book at the time it was rented, less the amount you paid for the rental; it will be as if you bought the book instead of renting it.

Supplemental materials, access codes, DVDs 

Since rented books are used by multiple students, we can't guarantee that supplemental materials (such as CD-ROMs or workbooks) will be included with each rental. We suggest checking with your professor to learn whether or not the supplements are necessary. Many times they are not. Alternatively, you may purchase supplemental materials through other means, even your college bookstore.

back to top

More questions? Go back to the main Help & Customer Service page or send e-mail to customer service.