At the end of each school term, students experience plenty of stress while they study for exams, secure internships, move out of student housing, and await final grades. However, for many students, anxiety also builds over how much money they will receive for their textbooks during buybacks.
While exams and final grades are part of college life, textbook buybacks have often led to frustration and disappointment as students are surprised by the buyback value of their textbooks, oftentimes receiving pennies on the dollar of the original prices.
After speaking extensively with students and school administrators alike about buyback programs, we recognized that, not only are they a common frustration for students and universities, there’s an important factor that has gone largely overlooked:
Student estimates of future buyback prices influence when and how they obtain their course materials.
As the initial decision around textbooks occurs long before the buyback process ever begins, students cannot accurately estimate future buyback prices. This lack of transparency has left students in the dark over whether to buy used, new, or rent their materials. Some students, concerned over a potentially low or altogether absent buyback value, may even wait until later in the semester to purchase, impacting their performance and learning.