Cash For Books Invades Athens

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The end of another fall semester has arrived at Ohio University and with it comes the opportunity for companies and students to make money on this semester's used textbooks.

Tents began popping up around the school's campus as soon as finals week began Monday, December 9.

Locations varied with companies and clubs setting up near College Gate, in front of Baker Center, and at the top of Jeff Hill.

One company, Pre-Owned Books, started in 2009 and based out of Morgantown, West Virginia was buying textbooks outside of Baker Center's fourth floor.

Pre-Owned Books collects books and then sells them on websites such as Amazon, ABeBooks, Alibris and Half.

It only accepts books that buyers deem to be in good condition.

Justin Powers, who has been with the company for three years, sat under the green tent in the frigid December air scanning books and handing cash to students who agreed to the computer software's carefully calculated price.

Powers is used to spending time interacting with students outside as he and the company travel to a number of colleges in addition to Ohio University.

"We do different colleges more in the West Virginia area. We go to Fairmont State University and Frostburg State University," Powers said.

Powers also said Pre-Owned books has now begun to expand their business into Pittsburgh.

Pre-Owned Books also operates a website that will offer cash for books from any part of the country and does not charge a fee for shipping.

There is no shortage of competition in the booking buying business as many companies claim to offer the best money for used books online.

As competition increases many of these sites are trying unique ways of attracted eager booksellers.

TextbookRush an online textbook buyer and seller claims to be, "the first (and only) marketplace on the Web to support all types of books-including, international, instructors, and annotated editions," of any textbook according to its website.

Other websites popular with college students trying to sell books include Chegg and using Facebook groups to advertise books they want to sell.

Pre-Owned Books and the other company-owned cash for books operations aren't the only buyers scattered across town.

Some Ohio University clubs take advantage of the hordes of students eager to sell their textbooks to raise funds.

Danielle Podlaski was supervising sales of textbooks benefiting the club synchronized skating team near College Gate and explained that it is their biggest fundraiser of the year.

"We do it after each semester and get a commission of the books purchased," she said.

The Ohio club hockey team has also become a yearly sight in the book buying craze.

Students options for selling their books in Athens expand beyond these temporary tents.

College Bookstore, Follett's University Bookstore and The Little Professor all offer students options for selling books back to their stores. 

The Little Professor that has been locally owned and operated for thirty-nine years also went as far as offering cash for student's used video games this semester.

Even with these options some students like Junior Ben Clos enjoy the convenience of getting cash handed to them on the street as they go about their daily business.

Clos also said he enjoyed the ability to negotiate with the companies buying books on the street.

"It was a bargaining situation but I didn't realize it at the time so they'll pay you a little more for your books sometimes," Clos explained.

Getting a little more money for their books right in time for the holiday season is something many college students would not deny.