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The basics of Book Buy-Back week

Students started lining up before 11 a.m. Monday at the Doan Center in Mt. Pleasant to sell their books back. Buy-back started at 12 noon. Photo by Elizabeth Schafer.

By ELIZABETH SCHAFER, Associate Editor

It’s that time of the semester when students can put a few extra bucks back in their pocket. It’s book buy-back week!

If you find yourself with questions regarding how the whole college textbook scene really works, you have to catch Kelly Koch at either the Harrison or MMCC Doan Building in Mt. Pleasant.

Koch is the Director of Auxiliary Services, and has been with the college for 12 years.  Having many students to provide books for, Koch has a lot on her plate, and she knows the book business.

MMCC purchases its books from three major publishers: McGraw Hill, Cangage Learning, and Pearson.  MMCC also deals with used book wholesaler, Nebraska Book Co, who in turn provides and purchases books from all over the United States.

Every semester the teacher of your course chooses a textbook at the end of every semester. MMCC generally offers to buy your textbook back at half the price of new, and half the price of used.

If the teacher chooses a newer edition or a different book, however, the students will find themselves not receiving the full buy-back price. Also, if the class isn’t offered the next semester, the book may not be included in the buy-back.  Those reasons,as well as liquid or water damage to the book, have the biggest impacts on price.  “That sort of damage is the leading cause of not getting money back for books,” explains Koch.

If the book is going into a new edition or the class isn’t being offered next semester, it may be more effective to try an online buyer or another college that may still have the book in circulation, she says.  Student-to-student selling also has become more popular in recent years.

The book buy-back program helps everyone — students and MMCC.  Supplying books for students, Koch finds herself comparing what the college sold last fall and then she has to “make an order decision.”

For next semester’s courses, right now the Algerbra Beginning and Intermediate book is getting the most at buy-back.  Koch didn’t suspect that she would reach her maximum buy-back on the current edition text.  “Publishers drive the new editions,” states Koch.  In return, if the bookstore’s maximum buy-back numbers are reached for certain books, the text can be sold back to the wholesaler.

“I work really hard to maximize the used book selection for students,” she says. As the mother of a college student, Koch understands that going to an outside source when purchasing books is sometimes more effective and cheaper than staying in the bookstore.  Everyone likes to save money.  Koch and MMCC try to be helpful to students by offering full title and edition information, including the ISBN number to students, so students have the option to go to an outside source if desired.

Several courses at MMCC also offer the text in digital form, which is quite cheaper than buying the actual text.  “Students still like to have a hard copy book,”  she says, so offering them the best prices and quality is what Koch will continue to do.

Koch recalls that she has seen more online buying and different forms of text than in the past. She notes there is a digital hybrid math book available to students this fall at MMCC, in which students will purchase an access code and most of the work and text will happen online.

It’s really about the student’s preference, she says.

Overall the way MMCC handles book buy-back is utterly graceful.  The layout of the new Doan building in Mt. Pleasant was designed specifically with book buy-back in mind.  “The long hallways leave room for students to form lines in an orderly fashion. There is also a specific room just for book buy-back,” she says. Koch played a role in that design aspect of the new building.

Doan also houses the bookstore for both Mt. Pleasant locations.  The new bookstore is really beautiful and big enough to have all the text, materials, clothes, and snacks that students will find themselves needing during the semester.

Renting books is also an option at MMCC for the Fall semester.  “Students are not overly receptive,”  states Koch.   You can charge rental books on your financial aid; however, you have to use a credit card to back up your financial aid.  Koch did a pilot run in the Winter of 2011. That’s when she learned it wasn’t really what MMCC students wanted at this time.

“Renting is really big right now,” she says. Koch is just giving students the option, because accommodating students is still one of her number one priorities. She says she does plan to offer more titles for rent in Fall 2012.

Book buy-back continues through Friday (May 4) at both campuses.

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