After a frustrating encounter at the student bookstore with book buybacks that happen at the end of each semester, I was advised to bring the books back at the end of spring semester to get more back on them. Books are selected by the college in terms of what’s useful to the college. These books are usually sold by the college which buys them in wholesale. Of course what the college offers isn’t always the best price to get them–my bookstore was polite enough to provide resources to help maximize savings with websites that also offered used books for sale.
That’s the best option before anything relating to packing and getting ready for break. When you want to take a break from the finals rush (which I was doing) gather some intel about the buy back price of your books from sellers other than the company you bought them from. It pays off to check the price at market price and in different book websites. However, because the college labeled the books i had “not super useful” for the spring semester, I’d get $50 less if I sold them back now as opposed to at the end of spring. There was also no guarantee that the college would use the book again the coming fall. I could melt snow with the fumes from my frustration with this whole system, but I chose to wait to sell them back.
There’s always the option to buy books as you need them too. If you want to try this out, I’d advise you to keep constant checking on the syllabus. You can also e-mail the professor to ask about the usefulness of having the book; will you be using the whole semester or for an excerpt? Some profs are nice enough to provide an online resource to find the excerpts. Other just use handouts from articles.
Either way, books are expensive. And given their a necessity to education I’d say they should be a lot cheaper, but I’m just a decimal on a page of one of those books compared to the system. So find your way around those prices, send out e-mails at the being of semesters to upperclassmen asking for books they might be selling too. If you search hard, you can get the books pretty cheap. And if it’s a hard financial burden, the professor’s should be more than willing to help out with that (speaking from a small liberal arts college professor-student relationships).
Hope you have a great holiday! 🙂