Raquel Centeno

Cut the university bookstore some slack

By Ashley Grey, January 22 2015 —

The University of Calgary bookstore’s textbook buyback is underrated. And this is coming from someone who just got 95 cents back for a barely-used copy of Romeo and Juliet.

Textbook buyback is a book-recycling program. You dust off an old textbook, bring it to the buyback counter and the bookstore offers you some money for it.

The buyback booth is located near the bookstore on the ground floor of MacHall and is only open for the first few weeks of both semesters. All you need to participate is a credit or debit card and a valid photo ID.

It’s true that the bookstore doesn’t offer a lot of money for certain books. Sometimes you buy a textbook for over $100 and end up with less than $10 after buyback. But selling used textbooks back to the bookstore is about more than pocketing a couple of bucks. Selling back to the bookstore ensures that more people at the U of C have access to affordable textbooks.

Recycling textbooks makes them cheaper for everyone. There’s little more frustrating than trying to find a discounted used copy of your textbook only to find it’s not there.

The more textbooks the bookstore receives during buyback, the more they have in stock. Courses are expensive enough without the added cost of reading material, and buyback helps to ease some of the financial pain of buying required textbooks.

Book buybacks only work when everyone on campus participates. While it’s tempting to try and sell your used books on Kijiji, you’re depriving your peers of a way on campus to get cheaper books. You also have to deal with bartering, no-shows and navigating obscure suburbs.

The ability to funnel all textbook purchases on campus through a central location makes buyback easier for all students. It’s more convenient for everyone to use a service that’s already on campus than using half a dozen options with questionable benefits for students.

The bookstore is convenient. They have an app where a quick scan will tell you how much the bookstore is offering for your book and email alerts that tell you when they’ll be in stock. All of the information is easy to find, so we can make informed decisions about what to do with the textbooks we spent our hard-earned cash on.

It’s rare for students to factor in convenience when making decisions. We’ll trek through horrible weather and endure textbooks with half of the pages missing just to save a couple bucks. But our time and convenience is just as important as money. We should consider those factors when making decision. Your time and sanity isn’t worth the extra five bucks.

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