At the beginning of each new term, students try to sell old textbooks. I decided to explore possibilities for trading textbooks on campus.

Photo by Martin Cauchon (Flickr)
Photo by Martin Cauchon (Flickr)

I contacted students via the Buy & Sell channel of the UBCSUO app and asked: 1) how do you set the prices and 2) how do you check that the prices are reasonable?

I got the following responses:

“I just went off the other used book prices and the quality of the ones at the bookstore versus what I had to offer. I have never bought books off of someone yet, but for me, I would check the prices of used textbooks at school first and the quality to determine what prices are reasonable.”

“I simply found all my textbooks online (Amazon, UBCO Bookstore, etc.), took the average of the price to see what a “new” book sells for these days, then, for most I just cut the price in half.  Even though all my books are in insane condition, like some were never cracked as an online version came with the book, I just figured with depreciation no one would want to pay full price for a book that is still new.”

“All my books currently posted were all bought new from the bookstore last semester.”

“I chose my prices based on what I paid at the bookstore. Since I bought the books and dropped the class before even doing the first reading, I figured it was fair to charge the same prices I paid.”

Also, I talked to one student about strategies for checking that prices are reasonable, and she said she would go to Amazon and check that the price offered by a student is lower. She would also check local bookstores to make sure that there are no cheaper options.

Another destination for old textbooks on campus is the UBC bookstore. Rented textbooks are cheaper than new ones by approximately 50%. When one returns a rented textbook, they do not have to pay the remainder of the price.

I advertised my textbooks on Buy & Sell channel, but no one contacted me. That is why I concluded that renting textbooks is a more reliable option for me. To begin with, I know for sure that the bookstore will accept them if there is no damage. Also, as I found out, students tend to sell used textbooks at lower prices. With UBC bookstore, I can always be confident about saving half the price, while I can not be sure about the result of bargaining when selling them via Buy & Sell.