How to Get the Most Money for Your Textbooks

Knowing how college bookstores function can give you an advantage during book buyback season.

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3. Get to buyback early: When bookstores are aware that a textbook will be reused, they typically set a quota for the number of books that will be purchased during buybacks, Stith says. For those students who can arrive earlier in the buyback season, they will have a greater chance to receive a higher price offering.

"As you are done with a book, show up at buybacks [because] sometimes, those quotas are hit and bookstores are not able to offer a higher price any longer," he says.

4. Explore your options: During buyback season, all bookstores handling college textbooks may not be offering the same prices for a given book.

"Based on the information that's available, one store may know a book is being used next semester while another may not," Stith notes. "It's certainly a good strategy to shop and see what everyone is offering."

When students begin discussing where they're getting the best offers for their books, Stith suggests sharing this information with bookstores. "That bookstore may match the price," he says.

Off campus, there are numerous websites that allow students to sell their books. Sites such as Amazon, eBay, and BookRenter put the power in the student's hand to decide how much he or she wants to charge for a textbook.

[Learn more about digital textbook services.]

Wisconsin student Radaj says that after going through book buybacks the past three years, she will be posting her books for sale online for the first time.

"I kind of want to see what I can get out of selling them online," Radaj says. "Bookstores are making money off these books no matter what—whether they buy my books back or not."

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