It’s that glorious time of year again when we, noble students, can expect our loving college bookstores to applaud the year’s hard academic work with a slap in the face of ludicrous textbook buy-back prices. Each semester, we shell out hundreds of dollars for textbooks only to be offered a hair-raising fraction of their worth when the time comes to sell them back. Once you’ve collected your meager $12 for that heap of books you paid $200 for only a few months prior, bookstores turn around and do it all over again to the next batch of students in a never-ending cycle of shameless profit. You may ask yourself how to go about avoiding this crooked predicament, and thankfully there is an answer.
Bookstores are not the only carriers of the materials you need to further your education, and every year more students are discovering the immense savings that accompany seeking alternative outlets to purchase their books. Amazon.com and Half.com are incredible sources, both for buying and selling books. Once you have registered for your classes, you should begin the process of shopping around on these websites for the best prices. Some people are under the impression that they only sell the brand new (and immensely expensive) versions of the texts, but that is incorrect. It is blissfully simple to find good condition, used copies of almost any book you are searching for.
This being said, what stands out most about these websites is not simply the availability and variety of textbooks offered, but the low prices they can expect to find. I was able to find a Spanish textbook, for example, that the bookstore was asking nearly $100 for at the low price of $15 online. These are not miniscule savings, people! We are talking about a colossal price difference that is too good to be kept a secret. Also, shipping usually only costs between $3 and $5, so don’t expect to be laying out any serious cash in that area either.
Once you’ve finished your use of the textbook, selling it back through these outlets is just as simple as buying was. Half.com, being an affiliate of eBay, allows anyone with a PayPal account to begin selling immediately. Amazon.com is just as accessible, with an easy signup process that will have you selling your books in no time. The process is nearly effortless, and entering the ISBN number from the back cover into the program provides your listing with a photo of your book and suggestions of what other sellers have it priced at. Listing does not necessarily guarantee finding a buyer, but when you do sell your books for close to what you paid for them it is very rewarding.
Here’s a newsflash, college kids. We are smarter than them, so don’t let your integrity be compromised simply for the sake of convenience. It has become the status quo that students should expect to lose hundreds of dollars on books, but it does not need to be that way. Yeah, that bookstore is located awfully close to campus and has fun, trendy WCU merchandise decorating the walls, but is it really worth paying up to 90% more than you needed to? I think not. They can only operate as long as students support them, and not giving them our business or money is the best way to take a stand and send the message that it is unacceptable to take advantage of hard-working students.
Leah Skye is a fourth-year student majoring in communications studies with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at LS685444@wcupa.edu.