It’s that time of year again. Exams are over — or are winding down — and graduation ceremonies are right around the corner.
But before head out of town, don’t forget to stack up this semester’s textbooks and get some money back.
Here are a few ways to make the most of the buyback process.
1. Your school’s bookstore
Pros: Convenience. When selling back to your school’s bookstore, you don’t have to worry about things like shipping, logistics, time or hassle. It’s easier to stroll across campus to the bookstore than it is to do the research and figure things out yourself online.
Cons: Many school bookstores won’t guarantee book buyback at the start of the semester — so don’t count on it at the end. Selling back books that are good condition helps, so try to go easy on the scribbles and doodles while studying.
But that’s only one part, according to Smart Asset, a personal finance site. School bookstores buy back by edition — so, in other words, selling a newer book is better. What’s more, they also take into account whether a course will use that same book copy next semester, so a lot is out of your hands there.
Bottom Line: If you’re comfortable trading potential higher returns for an easier experience, head on across campus to your school’s bookstore.
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Pros: The online-only store Chegg buys, sells and rents textbooks of all kinds, so there’s a good chance you’ll be able to get some money back on this semester’s haul. Chegg does offer an option to donate low or no-value books.
Cons: Because of processing and shipping costs, it can take 10-15 days to get paid, according to the company’s website. And since the company rents or sells the books back, buyback standards are on the higher end: highlighting is OK, but much more wear than that, and you risk a rejection on the buyback. If a book does get rejected, you have the option to pay for it to be shipped back to you within 14 days.
Bottom Line: For popular textbooks — especially hardback books — Chegg tends to offer more bang for your buck than the campus bookstore.
Pros: The online retail giant will buy back almost every book imaginable through its Textbooks Trade-In program. When logged in, Amazon populates the buyback page with suggestions to sell of previous Amazon purchases. You can, though, trade in other books with an ISBN, and shipping is included.
Cons: Like other sites, values can vary a lot — and quickly. Also, Amazon pays in store credit, so you’re not able to get cold, hard cash for your books.
Bottom Line: If you’re one of many students who already has an Amazon account, you’re one step ahead of the game. But if you want or need actual cash back for your books, this isn’t the service for you.
Pros: The online-only Textbooks.com is similar to Chegg, and it also offers to buy back most any book, regardless of where you got it. Return shipping to the company is free, and you can lock in a buyback quote for up to 30 days, so there’s no pressure to get your books in the mail right away.
Cons: Textbooks.com accepts books in “good condition” or better, meaning no stains, tears or “excessive writing.” If your book doesn’t meet these standards, it gets recycled.
Bottom Line: The price-lock can be a big deal for college students busy enough already with exams and the end of the year to worry about getting books in the mail right away. If that sounds like you, go for it.
Michael Bodley is an Elon University student and a USA TODAY College correspondent.
Amazon, book buyback, chegg, elon university, Michael Bodley, textbooks, CAMPUS LIFE
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