Much like apples, textbooks come in many different varieties.  I am not writing of simply new and used- the green and red apples of the textbook orchard.  Today’s student has their pick of more than just a new or used edition. Additional choices include:  International editions which might be significantly less expensive, Teacher’s editions which might be significantly more helpful, or even eBooks which might be significantly more convenient.  We’ll examine these in Part II.

New textbooks are simply defined.  They are new, pristine, fresh, previously unowned.  The book’s pages are clean and crisp, the cover is in perfect condition, and it might even have that fresh off the presses new book smell.  For all practical purposes you will never sell a new book, but you’ll probably buy your share of them.  Once bought a new book is used.  It can be described as “like-new” but it’s used and there is no getting around that fact.

Just as there are both sweet and sour green apples, there are many different varieties of used books, in general though a used book is any book that isn’t new.  The price, as well as the value, of a used book fluctuates greatly according to its condition.  A “like-new” or once-used book can resell for 50% its original cost.  However even the most expensive book you own won’t resale for anything if it looks like it sat in water overnight.  Keep in mind, if you can’t open the pages to read the book no one else can either.  In between those two extremes is an entire resale world.  The majority of used books have minor wear and tear from notes in the margins and highlighted text to creased pages and scratched covers.  Most companies are fairly lenient in their used buyback policies.  Just make sure there’s no water damage, no missing pages, and the spine of the book will standup for another year or two.

As I mentioned previously there are more than green and red apples in the orchard.  In our next edition we will cover some of the more exotic apple varieties; I mean book types, including international editions, teacher’s annotated editions, and eBooks.  Though these types might be more exotic and thus harder to find that can make them even sweeter when they are found.

By: Dan Russell

As comfortable as most students are with the Internet, the prospect of selling one’s textbooks online is still fear inducing. It shouldn’t be. Certainly it’s a tad more involved than waiting in line at the buyback counter, but it should not induce fear. But this extra effort can be well worth your time.

Step 1- Visit and find out how much your book is worth through a direct buyback . Looking up this information is as easy as typing in the ISBN (10 or 13 digit barcode on the book cover) into a box. You might find that the buyback price doesn’t cover the cost of shipping, let alone the hassle of selling it. This is a rare discovery though. More often than not though you will find a better buyback price than you would had you just gone to your school bookstore .

Step 2- Finalize your sale. This is typically taken care of as part of the listing, but occasionally afterwards. Many online merchants have set up wireless accounts for themselves through Paypal or similar services. This is a quick and easy away to get paid. The alternatives include personal check or cashiers check. If you plan on meeting the buyer in person to finalize the sale I recommend getting cash. I would always discourage the acceptance of a personal check.

Step 3-Get rid of your books. Unless you were able to sell your books to a fellow student on campus, or if you live in Boston to someone at a nearby campus, you’ll need to go to the Post Office, UPS, or Fed Ex to ship them off to their new owner. Many online sites will actually allow you to print off a prepaid shipping label when they buy your books back. In those cases all you need to do is find a box and head off to the Post Office. Timeliness is critical here. Ship your books off as soon as possible. Just as you wouldn’t want to wait for your money the buyer doesn’t want to wait for their new books.

by: D. Russell

As a child I recall my parents and other adults referring to a trip to the Post Office as a nightmare. I recall going there on occasion and being beyond bored as I waited in line for what seemed like hours.  The counters were high, I couldn’t see anything, I had to stand the whole time as my mother or father had packages in their arms.  It was horrible and for many years I had a phobia about going to the Post Office.  I have come to learn that I was not alone. I fear students are out there whose fear of the Post Office prevents them from selling their books online.   Students who would love to make more on their buybacks, but for whom the mere thought of going to the Post Office is paralyzing.
Having overcome my fear I hope to help others overcome theirs.  Hopefully after reading this, your fears will be laid to rest as the Post Office is not a scary place.  Most of the time people are nice and the worst part about the experience is waiting in line. Before heading off though you’ll need to do some preliminary work.  Let’s say you need to ship some books off to Portland.
Step 1, you first need to know when they need to arrive in Portland.  Someone is paying good money for your books and they expect them to arrive by a certain date.  That date might be next month, or next week, but you will need to know it.  Write down the date and the address.
Step 2 is to find a box for the book(s) or if you are mailing a light paperback any large envelope will do.  If you have one lying around that is in good shape put the books in it and seal it.  If you don’t have a box lying around don’t worry about it.  You can get it at the Post Office, but don’t forget the date and shipping address.
Step 3…the Post Office.  Take a deep breath, hold your box or books tight and walk through the door with your head held high.  More than likely you will have to take a number and wait in line.  But, that’s ok because you’ve done that before. While you are waiting there, take advantage of the time and look around.  Familiarize yourself with the surroundings.  If you don’t have a box, take a look at what they have.
Step 4…you are at the front of the line and they just called your number.  Don’t panic. Calmly approach the counter.  Take a deep breath and explain to the clerk that you need to mail this package to this address by this date.  The clerk will then weigh it, and quote you a few price options for delivery.  If the book needs to arrive ASAP you’ll be paying a little bit more for next day air.  If the buyer doesn’t need it right away the slowest, cheapest option, is known as media mail but can take 10 to 14 days to arrive.
All that is left for you to do is pay for your postage and box that you bought to ship the book(s) in.  That’s it.