Cash for Books - How It Works


Dates & Times TBD

(During Store Hours, 8th Street Lobby Entrance)

Q:  What is Cash for Books?

A: Cash for Books is an opportunity to sell your unwanted textbooks for cash. The IUP Co-op Store holds a major cash for books event at the end of each Fall and Spring semester. We pay you the most cash for books being re-used here at IUP for the upcoming semester.


There are several factors used to determine how much cash you can get back for your used textbooks, including:

Course Materials Orders: If an instructor has requested your textbook for next term, then the value increases. If we do not know what the professor is using for the next semester we do not speculate, as the professors here at IUP have "academic freedom" - which means professors can teach the same course as another professor, but they are not required to use the same course materials to teach that same course.

Condition: We only buy back books in resellable condition. (Missing pages, water damage, mold, broken binding, etc. are not acceptable buyback conditions.)

Overstocks and Current Editions Not Being Used on Campus: If we have reached our limit on a particular title for next term, or if your book has not been ordered by a professor for the next semester, we can often still purchase it. The cash back you will receive is based on various criteria, most notably, the national demand for the book and the needs of other bookstores and vendors nationwide.


Q:  What about Textbook Rental Returns?

A:  Textbook rental returns can be done at the same time as selling your books back for cash!


-Visit the texbook area inside the store to return or place them in the drop box located in the lobby. **Please put your name and banner number in each book!**


-You may also return your textbooks by mail or UPS. Click here to download a rental return packing slip.


Rental Return


Q:  What is an ISBN?

A:  The ISBN (International Standard Book Number), is a thirteen-digit code used to identify a book. (Example:  978-0-32168650-3). Each book has its own ISBN. You can find the ISBN on the back of a book near the barcode or on the copyright page.


Q:   Do I need my receipt in order to sell my textbooks at Cash for Books?

A:   No, you can just bring your textbooks to The Co-op Store. Even books you did not purchase from the store are eligible to be sold to the store for cash.


Q:   Where can I sell back my books?

A:  Stop by the Co-op Store, located on the ground floor of the HUB.


Q:   How are cash for books prices determined?

A:   When we know the instructor plans to use the book next semester, and we don't already have enough on hand, we will pay a premium price up to the quantity we need, even when there is no national wholesale price for a book, which usually happens with old editions and custom books, The Co-op Store will often still buy back old editions that have been re-ordered by faculty for the next term. Old editions do not generally have as great a buyback value as current editions.


Q:  Can I sell back looseleaf textbooks?

A:  Yes!  Just like any other buyback, if the looseleaf book has been re-ordered by faculty for the upcoming semester and we don’t already have too many copies, we will buy it back. Please note that looseleaf textbooks must be complete including both covers (no missing pages), and we prefer that they be sold back in a 3-ring binder.


Q:   What if the book isn't being used at IUP next semester?

A:   When a title isn't being used on our campus next semester, or if we already have enough copies, it is sold to a national used book wholesaler so that we have at least something to offer students wanting to sell it back.


Q:   How can this book be worthless when I paid a lot for it three months ago?

A:   Books that go out of print no longer have any market value. We can only buy back books that we will be able to resell, either here in the store or to a wholesaler. The Co-op Store can still buy back old editions that have been re-ordered by faculty for the next term. Old editions do not generally have  great  buyback values.


Q:   A friend of mine sold this same book back this morning and got more. Why are you offering me less?

A:   We have reached our buyback quantity limit.  Once we hit our needed quantity for a book here at IUP, we start buying the same book at a wholesale value. The books bought back at the lower wholesale prices are actually being purchased to be sent to other textbook companies for resale to other students, colleges, & universities.


Q:   Where is my book going to end up when I sell it back?

A:   Books being reused here at IUP for the next term will be sold at The Co-op Store. Books that are not being used here at IUP --or those of which we have too many copies--are sent to other textbook companies for use across the country.


Q:   I don't understand what the "wholesale price" is … can you explain?

A:   Wholesale prices range from 0 to about 30% of retail.  It’s basic supply and demand - a newer textbook, based on the copyright date, has a greater value in the marketplace based on its demand for used copies; the older a book, based on copyright, has a lower demand because there are more used books in the marketplace, therefore a lower the wholesale value. The amount you get is less because the wholesale company buying it is going to sell it to another bookstore, because they need to make money to stay in business and they in turn will sell it to a student on another campus or another campus bookstore. 


Q:   How do the used book companies determine market value?

A:   The prices paid by wholesale companies depend on the age, popularity, and subject matter of the book. There is significant risk that the textbook will change editions and render the wholesaler’s inventory worthless, so a lot of effort on their part is devoted to predicting demand and anticipating when editions will change.


Q:   The professor said they are going to use this book again next semester. Why can't I sell it back?

A:   Even if they said that in class, if the instructor hasn't yet indicated to the bookstore that they plan to use this book again next semester, we cannot yet buy it back. Once we do receive an order for that book from the professor, we will then be able to add the book to our buyback list, assuming we need additional copies of it.  Ask your professor if they have sent their textbook order to the bookstore. Also, some books just cannot be re-sold as used. These include ebooks or any packages that contain ebooks/access codes, workbooks, or other books with tear-out or fill-in pages. Unfortunately, access codes can only be used by one person. Once they have been opened, they can't be re-sold.


Q:   Last semester, I sold a book back to you for the wholesale price, and it was on the shelf this semester. What happened?

A:   Professors continue to place book orders long after we conclude our end-of-semester buybacks. Most likely, the professor had not placed their order before buyback, but then went ahead and ordered that book later. The copies you see on the shelf, then, would be copies that we purchased from a wholesale used book distributor, not the copy that you sold at buyback.