Several St. Thomas students recently received an email with the subject line “Drop by this week” from a vendor offering to purchase textbooks at a location across the street from campus. The email, which originates from an account not affiliated with the university, claims “Unlike the bookstore, we have no limit on quantities and our prices will stay consistent throughout the week! Our prices do not drop!”

UST Bookstores Director Tony Erickson said the claims in the email are inaccurate and that students are being offered prices far lower than what they would receive at the official UST Bookstores book buyback, which is taking place through May 24 on the lower level of Murray-Herrick Campus Center.

“On Monday most of our UST students received a mass email advertising a book buyback across the street from the chapel. This group is buying back books from our students at obscenely low prices,” Erickson said. “One student sold a book back for $8 and we would have paid $42 for it. Another student had a quote of $30 for his books and we paid him $267. Another was given a quote of $5 and received $36 from the bookstore.”

Erickson said that the buyer is likely purchasing books to sell to a wholesaler in order to make a profit off of unknowing students. He encourages students interested in selling their textbooks to first check with the UST Bookstores book buyback before getting quotes from a rogue book buyer.

Erickson also encourages students to protect themselves from book theft. The end of the semester is a time that book thefts increase substantially. Watch and mark your books so that you can identify them in case they are lost or stolen.

For more information contact the UST Bookstores.

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2 Responses

  1. Mike Fillman

    This article is way off track. It’s the STUDENT’s job to check around on book prices. I DID take the time to check the bookstore and these folks the “rogue” buyers…ended up paying me more for 2 out of 3 of the books and they even paid for 2 books that the bookstore claimed had no value. Food for thought. Make up your own mind on this. I for one welcome competition to the bookstore

  2. Hannah Volkman

    In a last ditch effort to procrastinate, I thought I’d share one student’s perspective. I stopped by this off campus book buyer yesterday with the stack of books that UST didn’t buy back. Guess what: they wouldn’t buy any of them either. Though they didn’t buy back the books, I really don’t think the student body needs a warning about them. Hopefully St. Thomas students are smart enough to realize that every book buying company, including the UST bookstore, is ultimately in the business to make a profit. I believe that we aren’t the “unknowing students” this article portrays us to be. Maybe the bookstore is just afraid of the little bit of competition they are receiving. We all know the best thing to do is shop around for the best quote, and if it happens to be from a conveniently located UST competitor, so be it. They’re all going to rip us off anyway, it’s just a matter of who rips us off less.
    I really wish that UST would expand their book rental system. It does save a few dollars for the students and the books (and money) stay in the UST system. I’m not sure how the process goes when a professor decides to use a new book, if they receive pressure from the book companies, or pressure from the bookstore to upgrade. Either way, we are jumping from fourteenth editions to fifteenth editions before students even have time to open the books. This book-flipping business is incredibly wasteful and most often, the only tangible difference between editions is the attractive learning-meets-fun picture on the cover.