Buying and selling university textbooks on eBay!

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One of the major hurdles a student must overcome before they successfully start a semester of study is ensuring that they have all of their required textbooks for the coming semester. However buying these new can be quite a financial burden for a student who is already living on 2 minute noodles as most books can cost between $50 to $150 each new. This can make for quite an expensive semester as most students would require around four books of which they may never use again after their exams.

Ensuring that you have all of your required readings for your studies is one of the most important factors for a student's academic success. Many university lectures use the nominated textbook as a basis for the course material and assessment and as such a student who doesn't have the correct book is often starting off on the wrong foot. So with all this in mind how does a student save a little money in this crucial area of their studies? Well the answer is twofold. Money can be saved by purchasing pre-loved, second hand books at the right price and also through selling books after use to a large market before they become out of date.

Both of these can be done using eBay. Heres how:

Tips for buyers.

It can often be a buyers market when looking for a second hand textbook. Higher education is becoming more common and as such there are many more students just like you, looking to make a few bucks for the next semester buy selling their old textbooks. There are a few main book publishers that regularly approach the universities and colleges to sell their products; as such it is not uncommon to find a student in another state or territory using the same book as you. This is where eBay comes in, it provides one central point for all students regardless of their institution to promote their books and inturn provide you with the bargain you are looking for.

There are a few points to consider when buying a textbook online. Firstly, make sure that you are getting the correct author(s) and edition of the book you need. Many topics have similar names, so ensuring that you have the correct author(s) will be a great start. The second and more subtle point is making sure you have the correct edition. Every couple of years or so some author(s) may produce an updated version or edition. While the basic material is often the same, often there may be some key differences such as recent changes in the field and/or different forms of assessment that may be required by your lecturer. At times it may be fine to use an earlier edition, however just ensure that you check with your lecturer and only bid to what you think this may be worth given the circumstances.

Another key point to look out for when buying a second hand textbook is to ensure that all supporting material is included. This may be in the form of a CD/DVD or additional learning guide. Sometimes this may not be needed, but if you are unsure always check with your lecturer and once again bid to what you think may be appropriate. The final point to be aware of is postage, textbooks can be quite heavy things, so before you bid make sure you checkout the postage costs to your area.

Summary of key points: Check you have the correct author(s) and edition for the textbook you require. Check supporting materials are included and postage costs. If in doubt ask the seller a question.

Tips for sellers.

Many universities and colleges have noticeboards and/or co-op bookshops where students can sell their second hand textbooks. The problem with these is that the market is limited and you are usually competing with all the other students at your institution at the same time of year. Using eBay to sell your used textbooks not only allows you to capture a bigger market but also the ability to sell your books to students who maybe completing a similar course in another semester and/or at another institution.

When selling your textbooks second hand, there are a few key points to keep in mind. Firstly, timing, books to go out of date and if you hang onto them for too long they may be replaced by a newer edition thus making yours less valuable so sell them as soon as possible after your exams. Another point is that other students usually look to buy their books just before the beginning of their semester. Now although these change for different institutions, there would be a more limited market for books around the Christmas period then let's say late January. Most offerings begin around every three months or so from here. This is not to say that there won't be students looking for textbooks during the semester or even those studying by correspondence.

To make the most out of your listing remember a picture tells a thousand words! So if you can place a picture in your listing buyers will generally be drawn to that first. A picture will also ad support to any comments you make about the condition of the book and possibly put a buyer mind at ease about bidding on a product that they have not seen. The final point to keep in mind is wording. Make sure you give all information about the book such as what area of study is it for, what author(s), what edition, the condition of the book and if it has been highlighted. A buyer is more likely to bid on a product that they feel familiar with then one that is a bit ambiguous.

Summary of key points: Timing, make sure you sell your textbooks quickly after your exams and in the busy periods of the year. Also pictures and wording, the more information you provide the better chance of a sale.

Final thought.

When listing your books on any university or college noticeboard, add your eBay listing item number and to the advertisement. This will not only allow you to have control over bidding for your textbook but will also assist in making a larger central student community bringing more buyers and sellers together which is useful to all seeking to buy or seel a textbook.

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