I hate selling my books back!

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I absolutely hate it! This is going to be a bit of a rant, so I warn you now. This has to be the worst feeling in the world- selling back your college textbooks and getting a small fraction of the money that you spend on them.

So I took all but one of my books to the bookstore yesterday and waited in the line for 15 minutes to get only a small portion of money back. I had probably paid well over $350 for my books for this semester, and that was for mainly general education requirement courses. You would think that they would be cheaper books because they are used more often, not!

So I got up to the line and the first book on my stack was “The Great Gatsby” by Ernest Hemingway that I had to buy for an English class. I paid $9.99 for the book, the receipt was still in it. I got $1.50 back for it. Right then I got pissed at the system. The next book, “Beloved” by Toni Morrison, again for my English class, I bought only 3 weeks ago (my teacher made us read a full book – 220+ pages – in less than a week time and it was also the final week of classes). I paid $12.99 for the book and only got $6.50 back for it.

My other books for bigger textbooks and got some more money back from them but it still eats my skin that we are pretty much forced as college students to purchase new books every time that a publisher decides to change some words or add a picture and call it a new edition, therefore forcing the bookstores to not take back the used older edition and only having new editions for sale. Then you have to pay $100+ for a brand new book that you may use 10 times during the semester and when you return it back at the end of the semester you only get $35.00, how does that work? The bookstore than goes and resells it as used for $75.00. It’s ridiculous!

Now this problem has been ranted about many times before and there have even been changed to the legislation in Virginia that requires all universities and colleges to produce a list of all the books that teachers will be using for different courses before the start of the semester so that students have a fair chance to acquire the books via a different means (friends, online, offline, wherever!). So, this is what I shall do from now on. I will be using the website provided by the school and order my books from places like Half.com and Amazon.com.

My schools Student Government Association launched a message board this year along with their website and there is a section for buying and selling books on there with other students but I don’t think that it is going to be as effective as they would like to see it be. I have been trying to come up with ways that would make the buying and selling of used textbooks easy but I can’t come up with much besides launching a forum/message board specific to each school and allowing students to post the books they have and their asking price or students posting the books they need. The other effective way to do this would be to create an inventory of used books by buying them from students at an amount higher than the campus bookstore would give and then selling them with a minimal price mark up per book. This second option just doesn’t seem feasible as it would take a large amount of start up money to purchase a large inventory worth of books.

I would love to hear what some of you out there reading this may be thinking and if you have any ideas for making a feasible business out of this I am very interested.

Your annoyed ripped off college student,

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