"No more pencils, no more books…"
Well, not quite, but as the CSU Bookstore began buyback Wednesday, students have to focus on selling back their textbooks while getting the most money.
Questions regarding where and how to sell are emerging, especially with the rise of Web sites such as Amazon and Half.com. Most sellers have required conditions for buying back books.
"Things like missing pages, water damage or if the binding is broken are things we won't buy back," said Griff Kull, owner and manager of Rams Bookstore, 130 W. Laurel St. "Highlighting is OK, unless it's a workbook, which we won't take back."
Two other bookstores participating in the buyback program, Big Dog Bookstore, 829 S. Shields St, Suite #100, and the CSU Bookstore, are looking for the same qualities in their books.
"Used is used, as long as it is usable, [things like highlighting] are OK," said David Dyer, store director of Big Dog Bookstore. "There is no variance on what it's worth set on that."
The first factor in deciding a book's worth is whether the book will be used next semester.
"If we have not received an order from the instructors for the next semester, then it will kick over to the wholesalers and they determine the price," said Terry Clayton, textbook manager at the CSU Bookstore.
From there, bookstores figure out their quota for the number of books they want to keep on hand for the upcoming term.
"There are less students in the spring semester and the classes are bigger in the fall than the spring," Kull said. "We base the quotas on the history of selling for the class."
But don't fret if the quota is filled by the time comes to sell back that textbook. Three local bookstores are in business with wholesalers who, although will give you less than the 50 percent promised, could still make it worthwhile.
"We use four or five wholesalers and always try to pay the best price, which averages at about 20 percent," Kull said. "We are also able to find wholesalers who want old editions because of the online demand. You could get [around] $5, which can buy you lunch versus just throwing it away."
Wholesale is determining prices from the supply and demand for the book, which is why prices vary so much as time progresses. While the other two bookstores do business with several wholesales, which they believe to be the advantage, the CSU Bookstore brings in a wholesale company to do their business.
"Our wholesale company has customers all across the country to service – they are trying to buy for the whole nation where Big Dog or Rams may not be looking," Clayton said.
The allure of money that textbooks present especially during finals week, can cause an increase in theft, something all bookstores are committed to stop. Bookstores place a distinguishing mark in the book to make it recognizable when it's sold.
"We work with the bookstore on campus and with cameras for people stealing books," Kull said. "When we know it is stolen, we pretend to check a price and then the police come in and get the person."
But the question still remains, where to sell? The bookstores claim to give 50 percent of the new price, but which one has the best deal? Taking in three "popular," or in some cases, required classes' textbooks, the best deals around campus were found. All prices are subject to change as buyback continues. It is best to turn in books as quickly as possible.
For students trying to get the best buck for the book, online selling may be the choice. But there are some things to pay attention to when selling online.
First, check for holding periods on receiving money. Amazon has a 14-day waiting period before the profits can be transferred into their own account for the first purchase.
Second, watch how much of the profits are actually put in the bank. Amazon will take anywhere from 10 to 15 percent.
Also look for incentives, not just prices, when it comes to selling back books.
"If you sell back $50 worth of books, you get a discount card for $10 off the next semesters books," Dyer said about Big Dog's policy.