Monday, July 25, 2011

Where I Buy and Sell School Books

The textbook industry is a scam. First, you buy a book for $100. Then, a "newer", slightly updated edition comes out, and the book you just bought becomes worthless on the resale market. It's like buying Madden NFL:

(this game is not even a year old and can be had for $9.50 new)

That is why I buy and sell all my books online. Not many people I know use Half.com but that place has the CHEAPEST prices. And if you've never sold anything online (I haven't either), the process is very easy, and I will go over it below.

Buying

Their website is very easy to search on. On the book's page, they'll give you tons of listings, grouped by condition ("new", "like new", etc.) with the cheapest ones put on top. The prices are CHEAPER than even Amazon (which is my favorite website for buying everything else).

Payment is handled by Half.com and not the seller. And you usually get your book within a few days. Like eBay, you can complain if something goes wrong, but I've bought dozens of books and have never had a problem with a seller.

Selling

It's very easy. Here are the steps:
  1. Sign up at Half.com for free.
  2. List your book for free.
  3. When someone buys it, Half.com emails you and gives you the buyer's address.
  4. Go to USPS (or other shipping place).
  5. Somewhere on the store shelves or walls, they will have flat-rate, first class, bubble-padded, shipping envelopes. Get the smallest one your book can comfortable fit in. ACTUALLY test out if the book fits in and you can close the flap comfortably.
  6. Seal the flap (self-adhesive) and write the addresses.
  7. Take to the counter and pay the $3-$5. They'll take it from you and you're done!
  8. Finally, wait for the direct deposit from Half.com; then use money to buy junk food.
Also, you don't pay anything to sign up or list. You only pay after you sell, and it's a % commission off the selling price.



Another Tip

It's somewhat of a risk but try using older editions than what your classes require. I've gotten away with this for A LOT of classes and saved a lot of dough.

Example: a class requires I buy the newest edition for $100. However, a version one or two editions older only sells for $1. So I buy that instead and find out that it gets me through 90-99% of the semester. And you can use the library or a friend's book for any missing info.

(The 2009 edition is $53, but I bought the 2000 edition which is 75¢. The 2000 edition got me through the WHOLE semester except for one class meeting.)

And even if it doesn't work, what is there to lose anyways? $1? And you don't even lose that as you can use the book to heat up your chimney.

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