How can students make the most of their used books?

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UConn Bookstore sign with snow on Jan. 27, 2021. Sean Flynn/UConn Photo

As the fall semester is underway and students try to clear space on their bookshelves, University of Connecticut students recommend using online forums such as eBay or Facebook Marketplace to get the most money when selling unwanted textbooks. Meanwhile, the UConn Bookstore recommends trying to rent books from their company to get the best value.   

Len Oser, general manager for the UConn bookstore, said students get the best value on books when they choose to rent; this way, they will get their money back as long as their books come back with a receipt and are in good condition before the end of the semester.  

“We encourage students, when possible, to rent, and most of our books, 85% of our books, are rentable,” Oser said.  

This means 15% of non-rentable books need to be purchased, leaving some students with unwanted textbooks at the end of the semester.  

“If you did buy or purchase a brand new or used book yourself, you could sell it back to the bookstore almost anytime,” Oser said. 

He says students will make the most money off their used books when they wait until the end of the semester because this is when the store is buying inventory for the next semester, making used books more valuable.  

“Come December, when we’re starting to buy the old books for the spring semester, the value goes up significantly, and that’s when the students get the most money,” Oser said.  

He said that if the student does not buy their books at UConn, they can still resell them to the university.  

“We will buy back just about any book that is being used somewhere in this market even if it’s not UConn; we just pay a lower price for it if we have to ship it out to another school,” Oser said.  

Talannie Baez, a seventh-semester psychology major, said she has no problem returning her books at the end of the semester.  

“If I do get books from the bookstore, I have no problem here at Storrs returning them, and it’s actually a very quick process,” she said.   

Samantha Niemi, a first-semester engineering major, missed out on money from the bookstore because she did not know how the process worked.  

“I tried bringing back a book once, but I didn’t really know the process, so I wasn’t able to return it. Thankfully I’m taking the class next semester, so it’s not that big a deal, but that’s definitely something that I have to remember,” Niemi said. 

If students feel like they will not make enough money back from the bookstore, there are other ways for them to make money.  

Niemi said Facebook Marketplace is a good option for students looking to buy or sell used books.  

“Something that usually works for me is Facebook Marketplace. It’s a really good way to make sure you are staying local, and people are usually pretty quick at responding to you. That’s been pretty good for me at least,” Niemi said.  

According to the Facebook Marketplace website, “Marketplace is an e-commerce platform that connects sellers and buyers through meaningful interactions and unique goods,” making this a useful resource for students to buy and sell books. 

Another way for UConn students to make money on Facebook is a group called “Buy or sell UConn books.” Students post photos of their unwanted textbooks and sell them for the price they determine.  

Niemi also suggested students start fundraisers for their old and used books.  

“If you want to resell textbooks, what I did in high school is have a fundraiser, so we resold all of our testing textbooks and stuff like SAT and ACT textbooks that you didn’t use, and we used that money to fundraise for something else,” Niemi said. 

Ryan Stansberry, a first-semester business and undecided major, recommended the online selling platform eBay and reddit.com/r/UCONN. 

“[Sell] through eBay or just kind of, you know, websites where a lot of students see, like a subreddit on Reddit, like the UConn subreddit,” Stansberry said.  

According to Reddit’s website, the platform is used to create forums for “communities organized around their interests,” like the UConn subreddit.  

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