The textbook game

Students looking to get the most money back for their textbooks need to know the answer to the question, ‘Which bookstore offers the best price?’ The answer is simple and yet complicated: it depends. No matter where students go, the highest price offered for new or used books at local bookstores is 50 percent off the retail price. In order to get 50 percent, the book must be chosen by faculty to be used next semester and it has to be in decent condition. Steve Overholt, University Bookstore course materials manager, defined that for a book to be in decent condition it can’t be over highlighted or too ripped. ‘There are some restrictions on the books we buy back, but we accept most if they look like they weren’t overused,’ Overholt said. ‘Whether the book was new or used, or purchased here, we will buy them back with some exceptions.’ The Student Book Exchange, located across from Founders near Subway, works just like the University Bookstore.’ Store Manager Steve Kokomoor said the biggest difference between the two bookstores is if the book isn’t being used next semester, SBX will still try to buy them back in most cases. ‘We use multiple buying guides and the campus store only uses one or two,’ Kokomoor said. ‘Especially if the books are not being used again next semester, students can get more for it here than anywhere else.’ At the University Bookstore, if the book is not being used again for next semester, the book is bought back at wholesale price. Wholesale prices are much like used car lots, where national book companies sell used books for a discounted price, Overholt said. Students receive the wholesale price if the bookstore meets its quota, which can be found online. If the store reaches its estimate, books will not be bought back, Overholt said. Students can check their textbooks’ value at the University Bookstore’s Web site by clicking on ‘Look up what your book is worth.’ The Web site tells students about the buyback process and whether the book is selling for retail value or wholesale price. Another option for students selling back textbooks is Beat the Bookstore, located across from parking lot A and Kohl Hall.’ Their slogan is ‘Buy for More and Sell for Less.” Beat the Bookstore franchisee Steve Smith said the way it works is their system checks over 100 other buyers so they can find the best deals for students. ‘Our system checks all the other Beat the Bookstores’hellip; and approximately 100 other buyers and automatically pays the student the most for their textbooks,’ Smith said. ‘Our system tracks the University Bookstore and the off-campus bookstore prices so we ‘Sell for Less.” In order to receive more than 50 percent for textbooks at Beat the Bookstore, students would need to get store credit.’ Getting store credit instead of cash allows students to receive 51 to 52 percent back for their books. Store credit can be used for the purchase of students’ next textbooks. Both the University Bookstore and SBX offer cash for students. Regardless of where students go, the best time to sell back books is at the end of the semester.’ Most classes for the next semester are listed, so bookstores have an idea of which books they will need.’ All three local bookstores admitted books are generally worth more when the class list is in at the end of the semester. ‘I don’t want to tell anyone to sell it back before finals,’ Overholt said. ‘But I would recommend selling back as soon as you’re done with it in order to receive as much money back as possible.’