There are few bright spots to spending hundreds of dollars on textbooks at the beginning of the semester. In fact, aside from the knowledge gleaned from those books I can think of only one: selling them back towards the end of the semester and making some very easy money. It is important to note though that there are buyback options other than the friendly folks at the campus bookstore. They might not all provide the cash-in-hand instant gratification of the bookstore, but they might earn a few more bucks for your effort and patience.
Many students turn first towards the Internet when selling their books. Keep in mind that this takes more time and effort than simply turning on your computer and logging into Facebook. It takes time to find a buyer, time and effort to ship your books, and lastly plenty of time (though equally little effort) waiting for your money to arrive. There are many websites in addition to CampusBooks.com that can help you sell your books including eBay, Amazon.com, and even Half.com. CampusBooks.com provides an online price comparison which takes away most of the initial legwork associated with searching out the best price by showing what the buyers on other major websites are asking.
Enterprising students are also using Facebook.com, Craigslist.org, and MySpace.com to seek out buyers for their used books. This takes a little more effort, but you can save on shipping costs and commission. It's also a win-win opportunity for both buyer and seller because you've eliminated the costly middleman.
Keep in mind that when you sell your books online you might only make a dollar or two more and you won't have the instant gratification of trading in 20 pounds of books for $20 cash. Even if you make $30 rather than $20 you'll still have to wait a week or two to get the money. That isn't too convenient when you need money for dinner this weekend.
Many Schools have alternative or independent bookstores near campus. These bookstores will sometimes pay a higher price at buyback time to bring students through the doors. Occasionally these stores will have a website allowing students to easily look up their book's buyback price. Best of all, you walk out the door counting your cash.
By: Dan Russell
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