booksales Buy At Amazon, Sell At HalfAs a college student I have always been frustrated by the way our campus bookstore sticks it to us when it comes to buying and selling textbooks. They don’t consistently offer the cheaper used versions nor do they offer the older, less expensive editions of the required text. Furthermore, they get you again at the end of the semester when you try to sell back your book at a whopping 1/3 of the cost, ouch!

Thank goodness for Amazon.com and Half.com! Not only can you save money by purchasing your textbooks online but if you can manage to keep your textbook in fairly good condition throughout the semester you can always get a much better price when your resell it through one of these online bookstores. For instance, let’s say I want to sell my calculus book and it is either in new or used condition. Well, a typical campus bookstore will only give me up to 30% of its value regardless if it is brand new or slightly used.

If I buy my textbooks from Amazon.com or Half.com I can save about 15-30% on my textbook purchase compared to the campus bookstore price and recover most of the cost by reselling through the same source at the end of the semester. So why then do I still see an endless line of college students waiting to sell back there textbooks to the campus bookstore during finals week at the end of the semester? My only answer has to be convenience. For what other reason would someone spend 15-30% more on a book and then turn around and sell it back at less than 30% of its original cost?

So which online bookstore is better for buying and selling your books? Well, assuming you can get the same price from both stores it all boils down to fees and shipping costs. Amazon charges a 15% commission fee, a variable closing fee of $1.20, and a $0.99 per-transaction fee whereas Half.com just charges the 15% commission fee. Another deciding factor however is the alloted funds for shipping. Amazon wins out here by giving the seller $3 per shipment + $0.99 per item while Half.com gives the seller either $2.78 (hardcover) or $2.40 (paperback).

Overall, however, it has been my experience that a buyer can usually find better prices at Amazon.com due to a greater number of competing sellers and a seller can get a better return from their book sales at Half.com. Hence, buy at Amazon and sell at Half! Oh, and don’t forget to send your sold books via USPS media mail and try to get free shipping with your purchases.

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