How to get more bang for your buck

It’s that time of year again. You’ve been cooped up in the library with your textbooks for days, preparing for finals and longing for the day those books are just cash in your pocket and a fading memory.

But selling back textbooks isn’t as easy as it used to be. Where should you take yours to get the best deal? When should you sell them back?

University of Alabama junior Will Dodd said he starts looking for the best deals around town as soon as possible.

“I sell my books as soon as finals are over,” Dodd said. “I go to whichever local store I hear is offering the most money.”

But for some students, going to each store to compare prices can be a hassle. Internet buyback sites are becoming more popular for students to sell from the comfort of their own home.

Popular textbook sites like chegg.com or amazon.com both offer multiple ways to sell back your textbooks.

Chegg will send you a check or make a PayPal deposit for your books. However, both Chegg and Amazon will usually offer more money in the form of store credit.

These options might be ideal if you’re planning on using the store credit to buy spring semester books from the same vendors.

But, if you’re looking for a little extra Christmas cash, comparing prices from site to site to find the best deal can become time consuming.

Bigwords.com, a textbook price comparison site, helps solve that problem.

Bigwords, started by recent college graduates in 2001, compiles the most competitive textbook offers around the web. The New York Times voted its iPhone application App of the Week in 2009.

CEO Jeff Sherwood said that the average Bigwords.com users are able to collect 80 percent of what they spent at the beginning of the semester in addition to finding savings when purchasing books.

“We found that the customers who bought the cheapest used copy in August were able to get back 80 percent,” Sherwood said. “If you’re buying a book, we save customers an average $225 or $65 per book.”

Some students, like Dodd, find shipping their books and waiting for the check too much of a hassle.

“It’s too much trouble,” Dodd said. “I do it local and I have spending money right then. I would do it if there were a significant difference in price though.”

While there are other sellback price comparison sites out there like bookfinder.com, Bigwords also incorporates special coupons with their offers to give students even more bang for their book.

“We receive exclusive offers from a few of our vendors because the customers we send across to the buyback companies are college students with expensive textbooks,” Sherwood said. “Right now we are running coupons that offer extra money for certain vendors because those separate companies are competing for your business.”

Currently, if you choose to sell to ecampus.com thru Bigwords, $2 will be added to each buyback at checkout.

Though most bookstores and sellers buy back year round, books are more valuable at certain times of the semester

Beth Verhine, a junior and employee at a local bookstore, said that Dead Week and finals week are the best time for students to get their money’s worth.

“You’ll get the closest to the selling price if you come in as soon as possible,” Verhine said.

Sooner is better because business owners need to fill their inventory by the start of the next semester, Sherwood said. Businesses need to fill a certain quota. But once they have enough of one book, the prices drop.

Bigwords.com gives you a way to sell back as early as possible, still keep your books for finals and send them off with free shipping, Sherwood said.

“The way the process works is you come to Bigwords, find the vendor, print out a shipping label and put it in a box and and send it off,” Sherwood said. “If you use BigWords, you can print off that shipping label on Dec. 1 and hold that book until after finals and ship it then.”