I've heard all sorts of questions during my employment at the OTC Bookstore, but this one more than perhaps any other.
We're winding down our major textbook buyback for the semester, and I'm sure this question has crossed your mind at some point. Let's start by assuring you guys that we'd love to buy ALL your textbooks. None of us enjoy having to turn your books away, but unfortunately, there are a number of factors completely our of our control that determine whether we can buy your book back or not. Here are the five major ones:
We have all the copies we need
The number of books we buy back is based on the number of students enrolled in those classes every semester. Once we have all the copies we need, we no longer have any need to purchase any more. Three words: SELL. BACK. EARLY.
This is why we buy the bulk of our textbooks during the last two weeks of the semester. During that time, we work hard to replenish our stock of textbooks for the following semester so the students will have used copies to purchase. When students aren't buying a lot of books--say, two-thirds into a semester--we don't have a demand for purchasing a lot of books. Therefore, we often don't.
The textbook is no longer being used
We don't like it either, but it's a fact of life: college textbooks change. Sometimes the various departments [i.e. English, Science, Networking] switch to new editions of current books. Sometimes they decide to change the books entirely. Whatever the reason, it's the bookstore's job to carry the books the college adopts.
The book is in poor condition
Ask yourself: if you saw a badly-damaged textbook on our shelves, would you want to buy it? If your book has liquid damage, large tears and the like, chances are we won't be able to buy it from you. We desire the books we have on our shelves look attractive to our customers.
Again, if you were a customer thumbing through a book that had lots of highlighting and writing, would you want to purchase it as opposed to one that didn't? Our rule of thumb is if a book has more than ten pages of highlighting/writing, we won't buy it back.
Hopefully this post gives you a greater idea about why we don't buy back certain books. Note that these aren't the only reasons, but more often than not a book rejection falls into one of these five large areas. Happy buyback, guys!