Tomorrow begins a new semester, but you still have all of last semester’s books lying around and none for the Spring. Have no fear! In this “Information Age” we live in, there is a smörgåsbord of methods for dumping old books and purchasing new ones, and we’ve compiled a list of them for you.
Online: The Staples
- Amazon‘s new book prices generally beat the bookstore, and they let you choose from a wide selection of sellers for used books. Its main perk is Amazon Prime, which is free for students for one year, and gets you free two-day shipping and $4 one-day. Most new books and some used ones are eligible for Prime.
- Half.com is run by Ebay, so this makes selling with them a lot easier. Their prices are often comparable to Amazon’s.
Online: Your Classmates’ Ventures
There have been a lot of homegrown online book-selling services springing up lately, and these have the benefit of being created by your fellow students for exclusively the Columbia community. Hurray entrepreneurism!
- Dormslist is probably the biggest seller on this list. They boast over 550 listings and even a party at Campo. A neat feature is “Book Alerts,” where you are notified by email if anyone puts a book you want up for sale, and they can also search other online sellers if you can’t find anyone on campus selling what you want.
- AlmaMarket doesn’t have as many listings as Dormslist, but they also don’t require registration to post a listing and allow you to sell more than just books. You know, so you can get that big blue bean bag you’ve always wanted.
- We So Smart is a new service that centers around the notion of a student profile and schedule. It has the handy the ability to copy-paste your entire schedule on Courseworks into a textbox and see what books you need and if any fellow students are selling them, but there are just a handful of listings so far.
- MoreBeerMoney.com just got started a few days ago. This is a price comparison site that enables you to find the cheapest option (and hence afford more belgian-style wheat ales) from the major purveyors, and also utilizes courseworks to build book lists.
Don’t forget about the time-tested tradition of plain ol’ flyering! Benefits include exercise. Here are some tips for those brave enough to try and figure out how to type sideways on Microsoft Word:
- How to type sideways on Microsoft Word: Go to Format -> Text Direction and choose your desired direction.
- Make little tabby things on the bottom: Cutting will probably take the most time, but it really helps. Be sure to include contact info and what you’re selling, in case people take your tab and forget.
- Know your audience: Don’t bother flyering Carman or John Jay if you’re trying to sell a book for a 4000-level course. For really obscure classes, consider flyering only the building the class takes place in.
- Include a picture of your book: It takes 10 seconds to Google it, and it will make what you’re selling instantly recognizable. It’s also helpful to say what course the book is for.
Offline: Book Culture
Book Culture has the advantage of having everything immediately available in one place. Often you can choose between buying new or cheaper used editions, but their buy-back policy leaves something to be desired. They will not purchase older editions of textbooks, and do not offer particularly generous terms. The charming scruffiness of the staff may soften the blow.