Most Students Prefer Selling Their Textbooks Online, But Some Don’t

With more and more textbook companies popping up to serve the “online” marketplace, the competition is getting to be pretty darn fierce. One of the major benefits of this intense competition is the fact that it tends to force consumer prices down. This is great news for cash-strapped students. Low textbook prices makes a lot of campuses a whole “brighter”, to say the least. With all these textbook retailers out there to choose from now, you would think most students are heading online to see where they can get the best deal, and their internet search here is often two-fold. Students search out the best websites and companies to purchase or rent new or used textbooks, etextbooks, online textbooks, kindle textbooks, etc, and they also search out the online resources that will give them the most money when they need to sell their textbooks at the end of the semester. Sometimes the best resources for buying and selling textbooks may be the exact same website, others often find that some companies are better for selling textbooks, while some seem to work out better for purchasing textbooks. The good news is that there are enough options out there to really explore and hopefully figure out some reliable resources after a semester or two of heavy online experimentation.

An article I recently read entitled: “How to get more bang for your buck”, written by Melissa Brown for the University of Alabama’s Crimson White publication, mentioned a few of the “tried and true” online resources for both saving the most money AND getting the most money back when buying and selling your textbooks. Melissa discussed Chegg and Amazon Textbooks, and she brought up a very good point that many students may not consider regarding these textbook resources, and an important point that I feel is not addressed enough on this website AND within the halls of academia: The secret is that these textbook companies will often give you a TON more money in “store credit” than they would give you in cash for your textbooks. So the key here is to use the exact same company to buy and sell your textbooks when possible in an effort maximize this “bonus” store-credit reward. Obviously, sometimes this will not work out for whatever reason, but I’d recommend trying it out whenever you notice a convenient opportunity to do so. Also, another cool little tidbit regarding Chegg is that you can receive your money from them in the form of a PayPal deposit, which may be convenient to many students that actively use PayPal’s online merchant services for their educational purchases.

If it hasn’t already been mentioned enough, pointed out right within the article is a quote from the BigWords CEO discussing that these textbook companies are actively competing to serve students, as students have something potentially very valuable to these textbook companies: lots and lots of textbooks worth lots and lots of money. His website offers many textbook buyback bonus rewards for students that choose to go through certain vendors like eCampus. These companies pay the BigWords website additional money, and these payments are then distributed as bonuses to students for using that particular textbook vendor selected through the BigWords website. These textbook coupons offered by the textbook publishers are extra attempts at increasing brand loyalty, and may not amount to more than a few extra dollars for each textbook sold. However, if students use the same company and coupons over several semesters, the overall savings will surely become quite noticeable.

Another interesting viewpoint that this article addressed was the thoughts of a student that simply preferred to do his textbook buying and selling locally, rather than search the deep seas of the internet. This student’s thoughts brought up a lot of different questions, scenarios, and viewpoints in my head. I do not believe that the views this man expresses reflect the majority of college student’s feelings and actions worldwide, but after reading his responses I really began to wonder just how many college students really do prefer to use their local campus bookstores to buy and sell their textbooks. If I was a betting man, I would imagine there is still a solid 25%-35% of students, if not more out there, that do ALL of their textbook buying and selling at local bookstores. What percentage do YOU think would be the closest to being accurate in this scenario?

The same student mentioned in the article that if the prices for buying and selling were dramatically different between online and offline marketplaces, he might reconsider his strategy and start using online marketplaces for textbooks. In my opinion, it DOES take a bit of patience to comb through the internet and find the best deals. So, for some students, it is understandable that they would find their time to overall be more valuable than saving $10 or $20 here and there, or getting an extra $15 back for a textbook at the end of the semester, etc. For the students with the time to search and the desire to save money and fatten their wallets or purses, the increasingly-competitive online marketplaces for textbooks can provide substantial savings in the long-run.

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