Friday, May 18, 2012

"Why Won't You Buy My Book Back?!"

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.

Low demand
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.

Excessive highlighting/writing
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!


  1. I understand and agree with all of this but when you sell me a book published in 1987 then I try to sell it back and I'm treated like I'm stupid for trying I will always, and I mean always tell you to your face that you have mistreated me. You pawn a book off on me cause I have it shipped and refuse to buy it back. Shame on you.

    Problem #2. All the students that do not care about their grades get rewarded by selling their books back early. Those of us that hold onto them in order to study for finals are penalized.

    Problem #3, many books sold back early were likely stolen from students right before then. I know several students who's text books were stolen earily the day before early textbook buyback begins.

    This should work well in conjunction to the needs of students to get a great education. It does not.

  2. We greatly appreciate your post, would like to know which book published in 1987 are you speaking about. We will have a talk with the staff that purchases our books; they are employed by a third party to handle OTC's semester buybacks. We assure you that if we knew about this when it happened, the behavior of this individual would have been corrected. Please never hesitation to contact the bookstore management team the moment you feel our service has been less then you expect.

    Buyback starts always during the final two weeks of the semester, this is an industry standard. There are some major universities in this town that start even earlier. Unfortunately, Springfield has a lot of competition for used textbooks. If we were to wait until the final week of the semester, we would not secure the quantities of books needed and would have to sources them from wholesale or from the publishers which would drive our prices higher. We cannot control an individual’s behavior nor do we reward them for selling early. The issue is a matter of simple economics.

    If books are stolen all an individual needs to do is notify the bookstore, we have a system in place that will alert the buyers when a book is stolen. No you say, how you can verify that the book in front of the buyer is the stolen book. This were the customer needs to help us and themselves. First and foremost always be aware of your textbooks, never leave them in your car in plain sight, and never leave your backpack unattended. Secondly mark in your books a symbol, phrase, doodle and remember the specific page, when we scan a book the alert will tell us what to look for. This information comes from the student and we load it into the system.

    Michelle we do appreciate your comment, we all were once college students and have experienced similar situations.


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