Textbook wars: How to get your money’s worth

By Linda Luk

With finals a week away, many students will be burying their heads in the textbooks and then attempting to sell them back to the stores, but chances are, they won’t receive much of what they originally paid.

“It’s too high, and the used books are too high, too,” said Cori Livek, a junior business management major. “You don’t get enough back for how much you pay for the book.”

To determine the buyback price, Village Commons Bookstore and University Bookstore buy the books back for half of the original price that was set by the publisher. In the spring, the students will pay 25 percent less than the original price for a used book.

Lee Blankenship, manager of Village Commons Bookstore, said there are three factors that determine the buyback price of the book.

“The first most important is if they use the book spring semester, then we need to buy the book for re-sale,” Blankenship said.

The second factor is that if a book no longer is used here at the university, the buyback price will be based on the national wholesale value. Then it must be determined whether the book has been revised or not.

“The publishers set the prices,” said Mitch Kielb, associate director of University Bookstore. “Additions increase the cost. Free CDs, Internet passwords and study guides increase the price of the book.”

Publishers also try to make the book more appealing by including more chapters so more people will purchase the book, Kielb said.

“There are many books that have no value anymore,” he added.

When finals roll around, students will begin to see advertisements and fliers about book buyback. With finals week being so hectic, the last thing on students’ minds is figuring out when the best time is to sell their books back.

“The best time is finals week, that is when we have the book information,” Blankenship said. “The book information gives us an idea how many we can buy, how many we can sell.”

Kielb agreed.

“That is when we have most of the information from the teachers,” Kielb said. “We have to try to get the information from the instructor on what book they want.”

Senior history major Debbie Schumacher plans on selling her books back during the week of finals.

“Usually as I take my finals,” Schumacher said. “When I am done with a final, I sell the book back.”

Students are advised to bring any additional materials, such as a CD-ROM or a study packet, that came with the book.

“Make sure to bring the disk or anything that is packaged with the book,” Kielb said. “If it is missing, you may get less or nothing.”

Kielb also recommends that students should keep an eye on their books as finals week approach.

“Books are worth a lot of money,” Kielb said. “If stolen and reported, come to buyback. We usually get the book back before it is sold.”

The University Bookstore will start buying books back the week before finals. Early bird buyback is from today to Saturday. Regular buyback will be the week of finals from Dec. 10 to 15.

“This year we have the west corridor,” Kielb said. “It’s the most convenient place. We always have buyback rewards. We buy back books no matter where they bought it from.”

The VCB buys books year-round, but its buyback rush doesn’t start until the week of finals.

“We never really have lines, ’cause we have so many buyers,” Blankenship said. “We work so that students don’t have to go through a burden to sell books back.”