Lower Columbia College | Book Selling and Buying Q&A

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Facts about Book Buying and Selling

With textbook prices being so high, where does my money go?

On average, 64.8% of the sticker price on new books goes back to the publisher (to cover the cost of development and normal business expenses), the author gets 11.6% in royalties, the freight company that ships the books get 1.2%, and the bookstore gets the rest. In the end, on average, just 4.5 cents (before taxes) on every dollar you pay for new textbooks represents profit to the store.

Why doesn't the bookstore pick cheaper books?

The bookstore does not select the books for the courses offered. Your professors spend time reviewing books to find the right one for your classes and then orders them through the bookstore for you. Photos, color, graphs, exercises, and quizzes, which can be helpful for students, also add to the cost of the textbooks.

Why does the store make me pay for textbooks with shrinkwrapped extra items I don't need or use?

These extra materials have been developed by the publisher and are normally included with the book at no extra cost. At the community college level some instructors add extra materials for their course and the bookstore shrinkwraps it for purchasing.

When buying textbooks online from sources other than LCC Bookstore, will I get my books in time for class?

Many major sellers do not keep stock on hand and have to order books through a distributor which may take extra time. To have your textbooks in hand on the first day of classes order your books as early as possible to account for delays. When ordering books online through the LCC Bookstore you can either pick up your order at the bookstore or have it shipped UPS Ground.

When buying textbooks online what will I pay for shipping and tax?

Purchasing through the LCC Bookstore, items shipped to your address cost $8 for the first $100 purchase and go up in $1 increments for each additional $100 purchased. Tax is 7.9% (effective April 1, 2009) for Washington State. When buying textbooks online through other sources the shipping costs vary from seller to seller. Also, depending on certain factors, you may have to pay sales tax.

Can I return books purchased online?

Many online sellers do not give refunds or have very restrictive requirements. At LCC, you can bring in your purchase with receipt for a refund through the 10th day of classes. Please see: Textbook Refund Policy for more information.

How do I know I am getting the book I need (correct edition, price, etc.) for my class?

Contact the bookstore for the ISBN number (in-person and/or online and check with the seller that the ISBN number matches. Some online sellers offer old editions, for less money. Be wary of advertising claims with some online sellers who promise huge discounts. If you really want to save money, be sure to compare the price of each book through different sources.

What affects the resale value of your books?

  • Instructor has notified the Bookstore that his/her book will be reused and the Bookstore needs additional quantities.
  • Instructor has discontinued use of book or has not notified the Bookstore that the book will be used again in the coming quarter(s)
  • Bookstore already has sufficient quantity of your book
  • Condition of your book may be too poor or incomplete to be resold – books in poor condition or study guides and workbooks with pen or excessive marking have little or no value. CD’s, tapes or any other supplements originally sold with your book should be included for maximum value.
  • National demand determines resale value of books that have been discontinued on your books.

Also, books purchased elsewhere can be offered to the buyer for resale.

What can I do to get the most money for my books?

  • Keep books in good condition (no damage, heavy wear and tear and/or excess markings) and don't discard any materials that came with the book
  • Don't wait too long to sell your book back or to someone else.
  • Newer editions go faster and for more money than older editions, so price things accordingly and don't be surprised if your textbook isn't worth as much as you paid.