(Continued from 2)
Whats the Catch?
Going online to sell textbooks is a real win/win situation
for students. Buyers get a better price and sellers
get a better return. Participating companies get some
return of course, but the amount is not excessive. With
indirect sales, the online company has to find a buyer
to move the book so the cut is larger for the company.
With direct selling, the company takes a small cut (around
15%) for offering space to market the text and for collecting
The real downside to selling used texts online is
that textbook writers, production companies, and college
stores do not reap a profit. Overall, prices for texts
continue to go up when writers, producers, and distributors
do not benefit from online sales of used texts. When
hard copy products dont pay at the base level,
then fewer members of the academic and associated communities
participate to provide content, and the books produced
go up in price.
Perhaps weve moved beyond hard copy in the world
of academia. Its cheaper, faster, and more content-specific
to provide online
text content. In the meantime, it does make sense
for students to both buy and sell online.
Are You Ready to Sell Your Texts?
If youre sold on the idea of selling your texts
online, then be aware that selling online involves being
reasonable and responsible.
First, you need to evaluate your books. In most cases,
books do check in as used. If you opened and read the
book, then its used. If you broke the seal of
the CD in the back, then the book is used. If you lost
the CD, then the book is toast. Dont try to sell
Then you need to access the used condition of the
text. If you have water damage, missing pages, missing
or torn covers, then you really dont have a product
to sell. The key question to ask is: Would I buy this
book if I walked in the bookstore and looked at it?
If the book is in decent condition, then it will probably
move. Even older versions of texts sell if you have
the time to wait for a buyer to find your copy. High
demand books may sell within an hour or so. Others may
take a day or two. Many are snapped up within the first
few weeks. Harder-to-sell books take longer, but most
do find a home.
Should I Sell to the Company or Directly
to a Buyer?
In some cases (especially with older texts), you dont
have an option. Online companies may not be willing
to take a book and then wait for a buyer. In cases where
you cant get an offer from an online company,
youll need to go direct if you want a return.
In most cases when youre selling recent texts,
you can find an indirect buyer. If you need cash fast
or if you arent good on follow-up, then you may
want to pack and mail to the vendor. Let them find a
buyer. If you arent in a big rush, and you dont
mind spending a little bit of time taking care of business,
then it does pay off to sell direct. My estimate is
that you will, in fact, get double for most books.
Here are some questions to ask if youre not sure
which route to go . . ..
- Can I wait for the money?
- Do I have space to store books?
- Do I check my e-mail often?
- Can I pack and ship fast (usually within 24 hours)?
- Can I handle being rated online by others?
If you answered No to questions, then you may
want to sell to a vendor and cash in. If you answered
Yes, then you will probably work out well as
an online seller and make a better profit.