Cash for Books

Q:  What is Cash for Books?

A:  Cash for Books, or Buyback, is an opportunity to sell your unwanted textbooks for cash.
The Mercyhurst University Bookstores hold a major buyback at the end of each Fall and Spring semester.

At the Mercyhurst University Bookstores, we pay you the most cash for books being used here at Mercyhurst for the upcoming semester.

There are several factors used to determine how much cash you can get back for your used textbooks, including:

Course Materials Orders: If an instructor has requested your textbook for next term then the value increases. Generally speaking, textbooks will be purchased until we reach our needed quantity for the next semester.

Condition: We only buy back books in resalable condition. (Missing pages, water damage, mold, broken binding, etc. are not acceptable buyback conditions.)You can highlight and write in the book. This will not change the price you receive for it.

Overstocks and Current Editions Not Being Used on Campus: If we have reached our limit on a particular title for next term, or if your book has not been ordered by a professor for the next semester, we can often still purchase it. The cash back you will receive is based on various criteria, most notably the national demand for the book and the needs of other bookstores and vendors nationwide.

Q:   Where can I sell back my books?  
A:  Right in the Mercyhurst Bookstore.

Q:   Do I need my receipt in order to sell my textbooks at Cash for Books?
A:   No, you can just bring your textbooks to Mercyhurst Bookstore.

Q:  What is an ISBN?
A:  The ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is a thirteen-digit code used to identify a book. (Example:  978-0-32168650-3)  Each book has it's own ISBN. You can find the ISBN on the back of a book near the barcode or on the copyright page.
Q:   How are cash for books prices determined?
A:   When we know the instructor plans to use the book next semester, and we don't already have enough on hand, we will pay a premium price up to the quantity we need., even when there is no national wholesale price for a book, which usually happens with old editions and custom books, The Mercyhurst Bookstore will often still buy back old editions that have been re-ordered by faculty for the next term. Old editions do not generally have as great a buyback value as current editions.

Q:  Can I sell back loose-leaf textbooks?
A:  Yes! The Mercyhurst Bookstore has been buying back loose-leaf textbooks for many years.  Just like any other buyback, if the loose-leaf book has been re-ordered by faculty for the upcoming semester and we don’t already have too many copies, we will buy it back.  Please note that loose-leaf textbooks must be complete including both covers (no missing pages), and they must be sold back in a 3-ring binder.

Q:   What if the book isn't being used at Mercyhurst next semester?
A:   When a title isn't being used on our campus next semester, or if we already have enough copies, it is sold to a national used book wholesaler as a convenience to students.  We're now partnering with several different vendors instead of just one to get you the MOST cash for your books!

Q:   How can this book be worthless when I paid a lot for it three months ago?

A:   Books that go out of print no longer have any market value. We can only buy back books that we will be able to sell, either here in the store next term or to a wholesaler. Even when there is no national wholesale price for a book, which happens with old editions, The Mercyhurst Bookstore will often still buy back old editions that have been re-ordered by faculty for the next term.  Old editions do not generally have as great a buyback value as current editions.

Q:   A friend of mine sold this same book back this morning and got more. Why are you offering me less?
A:   We have reached our buyback quantity limit.  Once we hit our needed quantity for a book here at Mercyhurst, we start buying the same book at a wholesale value. The books bought back at the lower wholesale prices are actually being purchased to be sent to other textbook companies for resale to other students, colleges, & universities.  The Mercyhurst Bookstore does not keep the books that are purchased at wholesale price.

Q:   Where is my book going to end up when I sell it back?
A:   Books being used here at Mercyhurst next term will be sold to Mercyhurst students here at Bookstore. Books that are not being used here at Mercyhurst --or those of which we have too many copies--are sent to other textbook companies for use across the country.

Q:   I don't understand what the "wholesale price" is … can you explain?
A:   Wholesale prices range from 0 to about 30% of retail.  It is basic supply and demand - the newer a book and therefore the greater the market demand, the higher the wholesale value for that book; the older a book and the lower the demand, the lower the wholesale value.  The amount you get is less because the wholesale company buying it is going to sell it to another bookstore, who in turn will sell it to a student on their campus. 

Q:   How do the used book companies determine market value?
A:   The prices paid by wholesale companies depend on the age, popularity, and subject matter of the book. There is significant risk that the textbook will change editions and render the wholesaler’s inventory worthless, so a lot of effort on their part is devoted to predicting demand and anticipating when editions will change.

Q:   The professor said she was going to use this book again next semester. Why can't I sell it back?
A:   Even if she said that in class, if the instructor hasn't yet indicated to the bookstore that she plans to use this book again next semester, we cannot yet buy it back. Once we do receive an order for that book from the professor, we will then be able to add the book to our buyback list, assuming we need additional copies of it.  Ask your professor if she has sent her textbook order to the bookstore.  Also, some books just cannot be re-sold as used.  These include eBooks or any packages that contain eBooks/access codes, workbooks, or other books with tear-out or fill-in pages.  Unfortunately, access codes can only be used by one person.  Once they have been opened, they can't be re-sold.

Q:   Last semester, I sold a book back to you for the wholesale price and it was on the shelf this semester. What happened?
A:   Professors continue to place book orders long after we conclude our end-of-semester buybacks.  Most likely, the professor had not placed their order before buyback, but then went ahead and ordered that book later.  The copies you see on the shelf, then, would be copies that we purchased from a wholesale used book distributor, not the copy that you sold at buyback.