How To Save Beer Money Renting Your Textbooks On Chegg

Cute Girl drinking Bud Light beer

Photo: Sarah Melita

Few industries are more badly in need of disruption than textbook publishing.Every semester, students fork over masses of cash for extremely expensive textbooks. Teachers choose the books, but students pay for them, so the incentives to compete on price aren’t what they should be. Then, every few years, publishers make a few minor tweaks, issue a new edition, and send the resell value of the textbooks down to near zero.

Enter Chegg, a Santa Clara startup that has been crushing it for the past few years by providing students with an alternative: textbook rentals.

Chegg offers students the opportunity to pay well below cover price for books that they then return when the semester or school year is over. Chegg then rents them back out to a new batch of students.

That simple idea has brought Chegg $144 million in venture funding since 2007. Simply put, the company is crushing it.

So how does it all work? We spent some time with it, and took a look at:

How to save money by renting your textbooks on Chegg →

How to make money selling your old textbooks to Chegg →

How to make money promoting Chegg to your friends →


Setting up an account is pretty standard, except that Chegg wants a school affiliation. That doesn't mean that non-students are excluded, however.

Here's the basic home dashboard once your logged in. Start searching for the books you need!

If they have the book you're looking for, you can specify how long you need it for, and see how much you'll save by not buying it

Not so impressive for paperbacks, but for huge, expensive textbooks the savings are huge.

The rental price depends on whether you need the book for 60 days, a quarter, a semester, or a full year

Just fill out your address and payment info, and your books are on their way!

Saving money is neat and all, but if you have old books lying around, you can actually *make money*

Punch in the ISBN numbers of the books you want to sell, and get a quote

If they're looking for the books you're offering, they'll offer you a very impressive price...

.... otherwise (and in most cases) they'll offer you absolutely nothing!

This is smart: Chegg will pay you if you like, but it offers you a higher price in Chegg credit. Either way, enter your return address and you're good to go.

Chegg gives you a list of UPS branches near you from which to ship your books

Print out this label and bring it to UPS; shipping your books is free!

Seller beware: if Chegg feels your books aren't in good enough condition, it won't pay you anything, and won't return them.

Even if you don't have any old Krugman textbooks lying around, you can still make money by becoming a Chegg promoter

... but first you have to apply

Even if you're already signed up for Chegg, you have to reenter all your information to apply for this.

That's it. Now we play the waiting game...

We got in! Now we're ready to start making money.

Chegg gives you a unique promotional code to distribute. When people spend money on the site and enter your code, they get a discount, and you get paid.

You can distribute your code anyway you like, but Chegg also has a dashboard of tools to help you

For instance, they have some prepackaged tweets you can blast out to your followers

Clicking on one of them fires up Twitter in a separate window, and queues up the tweet. Press 'tweet' and....

... you're in the advertising business! That's it. Next stop, riches!

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