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Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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Students seek out the best buyback options for textbooks

The not-so-wonderful time of the year when millions of college students stress about finals has jingled into motion. With the semester at its end, many are looking forward to getting rid of their textbooks to earn some extra cash as they begin their winter break. Students have a lot of options when it comes to selling back their books, and with careful considerations, students can get a little more dough for their old texts.

The Campus Bookstore: Without a doubt, the bookstore on campus is very convenient, especially for students who cannot easily obtain transportation to an off-campus bookstore. Nancy Safe, the textbook supervisor at the Campus Bookstore, said that the store works directly with professors and that the buyback system depends on the instructors' willingness to reuse books.

"Students are guaranteed half of what they paid if the book is reused by the instructor," Safe said.

According to Jill Tooke, a junior undecided major, she returns her books at the bookstore, because it is the easiest, but does not think she receives a lot of money back by doing so.

"You pay like 80 bucks to buy the book and then you get pennies back," Tooke said.

New programs, such as the online registry on the bookstore Web site, allow students to register their name and books to receive an extra percentage back when they sell to the bookstore. It also gives them the option of a buyback credit card.

"Students can receive a credit card in the amount of the buyback, which can help them budget for next semester," Safe said.

Unfortunately, the bookstore can only buy back a certain number of books each semester, depending on how many the instructor orders for the semester to come. The number of books that they have in stock also depends on how much money the seller will get back; the higher the demand, the more money a student will receive for the book, Safe explained.

Since the bookstore's buyback program is year-round, Chris Maier, a senior communications major and Campus Bookstore employee, advises that students should sell back their books as early as possible and that coming earlier will help them to avoid the lines.

"As soon as you can sell it back, sell it back," Maier said. "We can only buy back a certain quantity each semester, and it would definitely help with the lines."

Greeks and Sneaks/The College Store: Venturing to off-campus bookstores can often offer better deals and shorter lines than the campus bookstore. However, many UB instructors go to alternative book stores for their orders, as well, which affects the number of books that these stores will buy back.

Michael Cimato, the store manager of Greeks and Sneaks located at 3230 Main Street, explained that although the book companies determine how much a student would get back for their books, they still offer better deals for buybacks and coupons.

"We give coupons for future purchases," Cimato said. "We will match any prices of the other places for both buybacks and purchases."

Although The College Store, located on 3908 Maple Rd., does not match prices of other bookstores, they honor the same half-back policy that the Campus Bookstore offers, in addition to coupons.

Tom Jacobs, the store manager of The College Store, said that they offer coupons that give students the options of either getting $5 back for every 50 dollars worth of buybacks, or an option to receive double the buyback transaction.

Jacobs also said that the price of the buyback is determined not by the particular store, but by their corporation, which creates a buyers guide. The instructors of the courses play a bigger role in determining the buyback prices than expected.

"If the teachers told us what they were using next semester in a timely fashion, it would make a huge difference for everyone," Cimato said.

If instructors notify in advance which book they intend on using for the next semester, the price of the buyback could greatly increase. According to Cimato, prices are also based on demand.

SA Online Book Exchange/ Taking the extra effort to sell textbooks online could result in earning a lot more money back. The SA online book exchange and have certain similarities in their book selling experience.

Like Facebook, the SA book exchange is set up like an online marketplace, where students can determine their own prices, but students also have to make their own arrangements for delivery. They are both either cash or check for payments, and both Web sites do not take commission from the seller.

This tends to be the most win-win buyback option for the buyer and seller, according to Ashish Abraham, a senior medicinal chemistry major and vice president of SA. The seller can receive a higher amount than they would at a buyback, while the buyer can get the book at a much lower price.

"This is completely for the students," Abraham said. "Most students can buy the books at a lot less and sell it for a lot more. There is no middle person."

Abraham said the student activity fees pay for the online program.

Max Brzozowski, a sophomore electrical engineering major, was planning on trying the SA book exchange this year.

"I was going to do the online book exchange because I'll get more money," Brzozowski said. "I imagine that once I buy my first book online, I'll keep sticking to it."

Abraham said that students should take advantage of the services and also said that it was offered before's application was launched.

SA online book exchange has 1534 books posted up for sale, compared to Facebook's 372, which gives students fewer options. Facebook only sells books of students from the same school, which could be a misconception for those thinking that they will be selling to the entire Facebook network.

Also, Facebook's marketplace offers several items for sale, while the SA online book exchange is exclusively for selling textbooks, Abraham said.

"I tried selling one on Facebook, but nobody bought it," said Valerie Buckman, a junior undecided major. Although these are additional Web site selling services, they are very different compared to and SA Online Book Exchange. Flynn is an avid user of and feels that he has saved a lot of money by using the service.

"I've bought books for five or six dollars that sold in the bookstore for 40 or 50 dollars," Flynn said. "When I was a sophomore, I bought my books online for about 250 dollars and sold them back for nearly the same value."

Flynn also said the process is easy because the Web site host handles the money exchange.

"The buyers pay Amazon, and Amazon pays you," Flynn said.

Another positive aspect of both and, besides their handling of the money, is that they both have a buyer feedback system, which prevents scammers from misleading clients in the exchange.

Although the Web sites take away commission from the seller, they add money for the estimated cost of the shipping and handling, and they oversee the exchange for a smooth transaction, including seeing that the books are shipped in a timely manner.

With all of the online services, there is still the risk of not having the instant cash or the instant transaction. It could take months for a book to sell in any of the online services. With and, payments have to be made through bank accounts, which could take a week or two to occur.

Sellers are able to determine their own prices, but their prices need to be competitive with the other sellers from across the nation, and they need to pay close attention to the accuracy in describing their books for the buyer, according to Flynn.

The larger Web sites bring a larger market. There is an increased chance of selling an older edition or selling a book that will not be used by any instructors in the next semester, because there is still a lot of potential buyers for the books from across the nation.

Safe said that one of the benefits of selling books back with the campus bookstore is that there is an instant transaction. Sellers do not have to wait a couple of days to ship their books out or to receive the money.

Taking the time to set up an account, list the books and ship the books to the buyer may seem like a hassle, but there is a greater chance of selling books of any kind, or any edition, and there will be more money earned for the seller.

"Ten minutes is worth a couple hundred dollars to me," Flynn said.



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