CU-Boulder students get little relief in book buybacks

Weigh the options

Colorado Bookstore on the Hill: 1111 Broadway St., 303-442-5051

CU Bookstore: 1669 Euclid Ave., 303-492-6411

Shipping on the Hill: 1321 College Ave., 303-447-0504

Sell ’em yourself: Visit, or to list your books online.

University of Colorado students are looking to put some extra change in their pockets by selling their unwanted textbooks.

Unfortunately, for most students, they’re getting just a little more than change for returns.

CU junior Kristin Parker took six books to Shipping on the Hill Friday and walked away with $10 and two water-damaged rejects.

“If you come with high expectations you’re going to be disappointed,” Parker said. “Don’t expect much.”

For many students like Parker, the return on textbooks is driving students to search out the cheapest options at the beginning of the semester, knowing the cash back is not worth the initial purchase.

“I suggest renting,” Parker said. “It’s cheaper to begin with and you don’t have to worry about trying to get any cash back later.”

Parker estimated she spent a little more than $200 this semester to purchase six books and rent about six more. She said the $10 refund is her entire payback for the spring.

With final exams scheduled throughout the week, Shipping on the Hill owner Mike Clear said he expects Tuesday and Wednesday to be the busiest days for sell backs.

Both bookstores on the Hill and the CU bookstore buy books back all year long, but offer better prices the last week of the semester — once the required readings for the upcoming semester are released by professors.

CU freshman Connor Reeves said he learned his lesson the hard way in the fall when he spent more than $600 on textbooks at the CU Bookstore and got almost nothing back from returns.

Now, Reeves said he buys all of his books online and whatever cash refund he gets during finals week is just a bonus.

This spring, Reeves said he spent about $200 on eight textbooks and recouped $23 for one book.

“It’s worth it for sure, even if it is only 20 bucks,” Reeves said. “I mean, what am I going to do with a geology book that I don’t need anymore?”

Shipping on the Hill only bought one of his books, so he took a second book next door to the Colorado Bookstore on the Hill, where the book was also rejected.

Reeves said it’s convenient to come to the Hill because you can compare prices at two locations before deciding where to go. His next stop: the CU Bookstore in hopes of unloading his unsold textbook.

Brian Groves, interim director for the CU Bookstore, said they are currently working on a website where students can find out how much the Bookstore is willing to pay back. Groves said he was unsure when the site would launch.

CU senior Julian Wheating also bought several of his books online this spring and was happy he didn’t spend more than he did, as he only received $6.25 back from the Colorado Bookstore on the Hill.

“I’d say I spent between $300 and $400 this semester,” Wheating said. “But after this long, you just come to expect those costs.”

Some students said they hear rumors about which bookstore gives the best buy-back rates, but all three students agreed that it varies depending on the book.

“You can shop around to find the best price, but I think they’re all pretty much the same,” Wheating said. “The bookstores are convenient and they give you cash right then.”

CU sophomore Joseph Conboy said he’s planning on posting his unwanted books on — a website that allows CU students to post textbooks for sale in a format similar to — in hopes of getting more money back.

“I’ll take them to the book store first and see what they’re willing to give me, but I don’t think I’d do it for less than $30,” Conboy said. “I’d rather use a site like this that benefits everyone. I could make more money and it helps students get cheaper books.”

Conboy said he is not expecting to get much activity on his books posted online until closer to the fall semester, when students are purchasing their next batch of books.

“There’s not guarantees on the site,” Conboy said. “But at least this way if you do sell any, you’re getting a price that you’re comfortable with.”

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