Saturday, 21 January 2012

Decluttering: Getting Money Back for Old Textbooks

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.
  1. 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.
  2. Target other students first – If you put posters up in the toilets, cafĂ© 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!
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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?


Angela said...

can I also mention AbeBooks as a brilliant website for buying/selling 2nd hand books

This site is particularly brilliant if you need to source an out of print book for any reason.

weekend blessings x

saving for travel said...

Great advice!

Sft x

Frugal Down Under said...

If your an Australian reader Fishpond is excellent for selling books

and Ebay is pretty good too.

Use Gumtree too.

rivulet said...

I wanted to write back to you about the baby shower blog but this was the only way I could think of. sorry to leave a totally unrelated comment on your blog. Feel free to delete it right away.

Baby showers are awesome... I'm amazed that you don't have them often in the UK. Basically when someone is going to have their very first baby friends and family throw a party for the mom and everyone brings gifts for the baby. You actually pick out stuff you want and need so people have ideas of what to get but a lot of people don't pay attention to the list.

Yes, you do open the gifts at the party in front of EVERYONE so when someone gets you a really ugly blanket you have to try and look impressed (I'm horrible at that sort of thing). And when you've opened the same gift for the third time you still smile and say "thank-you, it's soooo cute!" It can get really awkward. Especially when your mother in law invites a ton of people to your shower who you dont know. Then when you open their gift and it says from karen and you look around the room and you're like, "who the heck is Karen?... Uh, thank-you so much random person who I can't even look at because I don't know who you are for this gift I don't need at all because I'm going to be using cloth diapers not disposable." Awkward.

Yesterday was just a bit too much for me. I'm not a super social person AND I'm not huge into stuff.

kelley said...

ebay has been wonderful for me...selling off old quilt and rug hooking books, selling my hand made items and desing long as you have a post office close by you're set...

I've given a lot away through freecycle's, exercise bike, quilt fabric...usually just set it by the door and they come pick it to know things are being used and not trashed...I've also received canning jars galore when I ask for them...

Maria said...

I second Angela - Abe Books is great for 2nd hand and/or out of print books - they quite often have stuff not available through Amazon.

On university books - ah yes, I remember the horrendous prices! - I didn't buy my complete reading list, just a fraction.... and still didn't read all of them of course (oops)

Spankthemagicmonkey said...

Reselling your old university books is such a good idea. Despite using the library extensively, I’ve still got tons and tons of old university books that I pretty much got just to look the part on my shelves.

Naturally in regular student tradition I only read about the first ten pages / the pictures of each book before deciding that using Wikipedia and the reference from the books were much, much easier.

Practical Parsimony said...

In the US publishers put out new additions every other year to sell more books, so often the book listed for sale is too "old" to be of use. I sold my on a I believe you have those in UK and AU.

Anyone can google "rent textbooks" and find several places that rent so cheaply that it might make sense to rent rather than purchase.

Alison said...

I have sold all my text books on amazon over the last few years and, even though they were all about 7 years out of date I got at least 50% of what I paid for them back! I have never had any luck selling books on ebay but use it for selling all my other stuff and buying 2nd hand too, it is great!!

Anonymous said...

I live in the states, and I've used to sell back my textbooks. They pay fast, and it's easier than selling them myself. They offer free shipping too.