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How to get the best bang for your book buyback buck

Staff Writer

On just about every college campus, Book Buyback Days are some of the most important out of the year. Students have a chance to get some of their hard-earned cash back on books they will not be needing after the semester is over. By doing so, future students also may have an opportunity to get the books even cheaper.

This week is book buyback time at MMCC. The hours are noon – 6 p.m. May 5; 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. May 6-8, and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. May 9. Buyback is closed for lunch from 11:45-12:30 Tuesday-Friday.

The buyback is available for both on-campus and online students. Sellers must have a driver’s license or student ID to be eligible for buyback. For online students, MMCC states that those students who wish to return either rental books or books for buyback must have them delivered to campus by noon Friday, May 9. Students may also mail books back if they cannot make it to campus on time. Those books also must arrive by noon May 9. Send to: MMCC Bookstore, 1375 South Clare Ave., Harrison, MI 48625. For more information on mailing, call (989) 386-6640.

Kelly Koch, manager of MMCC’s bookstores, explained that students get the best refund for their books if that book will be used in classes the next semester.

“If faculty adopts the book for the next semester, then we can safely buy the book back,” she explained. “When we know that the book will be used again, we then look at our current inventory of books to determine how many additional books we will need to meet the demand. If the book is a newer edition then typically, we can pay up to half of the original cost (new or used) of the book to the student. If the book is older and possibly going into a new edition within the year, then we may not pay as much.”

Koch said the reasoning for this is that if the bookstore doesn’t sell all the books, then any remaining ones will possibly have no wholesale value.

Koch said that the staff also has to consider enrollment when determining book value. “MMCC has experienced a decline in the last couple of years and it makes it difficult to determine how many books to buy back and at what price,” she said.

MMCC also rents books to students, but Koch said it is difficult to say whether a student is better off financially renting books or buying them and selling them back later.

“There is no formula that applies evenly to all books,” she said. “The age of the book, the popularity of the book in the college industry, which determines the quantity available, all affect whether it is a better deal to rent or buy.

“We are definitely seeing a pattern that indicates rental prices are becoming lower,” she noted. “There are some titles that we know for sure we will be buying back at full price for the bookstore and when I know this, I am able to pass this information to our students. Unfortunately, at the beginning of the semester, we can’t promise students that we will buy all titles back at half of the retail. So whenever a student can rent at a substantial savings from the retail price we recommend renting.”

Koch explained that a book’s condition also factors in to its buyback value. “Sometimes we will pay less money for a damaged title so that the student can at least get some money,” she said. “Most of the time we are unable to purchase damaged textbooks.”

She did recommend that students take care not to put water or pop bottles in their backpacks next to their books.

“Water damage is definitely the primary reason that books are not purchased back,” she said. Another leading cause of damage is by pets who like to chew books.

“Funny, but you wouldn’t believe how many books are damaged by pets,” she said.


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