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My last year in undergrad I lived in a tiny apartment over the only off-campus bookstore. The apartment was so small that I had to lift the 3 foot kitchen counter every time I wanted to enter the bathroom. But the apartment was great as I was able to work in the bookstore during the rush periods at the beginning and the end of each semester to grab some extra cash. What I learned was that the key was to charge as much as possible for the used books and pay out as little as possible to the students hoping to return their books. This was before the Internet so students really had little choice — accept the $5 on a book you paid $125 for or use it as a monitor stand. As an accounting student, all of our books “had” to be updated each year due to all the changes in accounting and tax law.
Earlier this month Amazon announced the launch of their textbooks trade-in service. This new textbook service is different than the normal Amazon used book sales option. The textbooks must be in good condition. Once you mail the books to Amazon, you receive a credit in your Amazon account — no cash is provided. Since textbooks and typically heavy, you should factor in the shipping costs as part of the trade-in.
The big player in the textbook space is Chegg – you can rent textbooks and also sell your books to Chegg for cash or credit. Chegg has raised over $160 million since 2005 which includes $57 million in funding last month.
Here’s an Amazon pricing example using the fabulous Intermediate Accounting textbook:
- New – $155.10
- Used – starts from $120
- Trade-in price – $83.80