Textbooks at University cost an absolute fortune! Before you start your first year you are sent a reading list of epic proportions, so as the dedicated undergraduate you now are, you take yourself down to the University bookshop, Amazon or Ebay and buy the lot!
First of all, let me tell you that if you haven't yet started University and haven't got your books, don't buy them! “But then how will I succeed??” Every good University has a VERY well stocked library. They have 15-30 copies of the core textbooks! I promise you that with very little planning, you'll be able to have all the access you need to the textbooks. This won't help if you're still up at 3am cramming for an exam, but as a dedicated student that won't be the case.. right?
Even if you do decide later that you'd like your own copy of the textbook, you won't be losing anything by waiting until you know you need it before draining that new student loan of yours.
If you've already bought the books (like me!), then don't worry, I have tips about recouping your losses once you're done with them.
- Keep the books in a good condition – To ensure that you get the most back from your books when you re-sell them, you need to keep them as pristine as possible. If you must make notes in them (something I've never understood), then write lightly in pencil. DON'T highlight text, but underline it if necessary.
- Target other students first – If you put posters up in the toilets, café and noticeboards of your building at the start of the new academic year, other people on the same degree scheme as you will see them. These are the most likely candidates to buy the books – they have the same reading list you had! Check the going rate of the books at the University bookshop and Amazon, then set your price £5 to £10 lower than that. Put your mobile phone number at the bottom and wait for the messages to flood in!
- Re-sell to the bookstore – Our University bookshop, Blackwells, guaranteed to pay you 40% of the price you paid for the book if you bought it from them. You must keep your receipt and the book must be in a good condition.
- Sell on Amazon – If you didn't have any luck with the above, it's time to sell to further afield. I currently have two textbooks listed on Amazon. You just search for the book and click “Sell on Amazon”. There is a 15% of sale price + 43p fee on all sales. The postage is pre-set to £2.75; now I don't know about you, but most of my textbooks weigh around 3kg, making the true postage over £7.00. You'll be losing money here, so make sure the value of the book will exceed the cost of postage combined with fees! It's the first time I've done this, so I don't know how long it takes! You can also trade the book in for an Amazon gift voucher if you prefer.
- Sell on Ebay - I've never sold anything on Ebay, but you can list your book on there too. :D
The income from your textbooks will likely be a valuable source of money in the next few years of your degree. It's much more expensive to live in a shared house than it is to live in halls in the first year. Buy only the books you need, preferably second hand, and look after them!
Also, should I just jump on 1999-train and start using Ebay?