January 13 2010
Buying and Selling Law School Text Books
Buying. Once you get your law school syllabi you need to order your books. You can either buy them online or buy them at a local textbook store. I have done both and decided that I prefer buying my school books online.
Buying books online is more efficient because you don’t have to go to the bookstore. I have found that it is also cheaper. There are a variety of websites where you can compare prices. Here is the list of the most popular sites:
Warning! Shipping often takes 2-3 weeks, so order your books as early as possible.
If you choose to buy your books at a store, make sure you research the different options in your area. For example, at my school, the campus bookstore has higher prices than a family owed bookstore down the street. Take the time to research before buying so you can save some money.
A third option is buying books from older students. I have never done it, but I do know people who have taken advantage of this option. This is a good idea, especially if you know the student did really well in the class. Just make sure that the Professor hasn’t assigned a new edition of the book.
Selling. There are a few options when selling back your casebooks. The first and probably easiest option is to sell the books back to the local bookstore. While this is a quick process I would not recommend it because it simply doesn’t make sense economically. You will usually only get 10% of the price you paid a mere three months ago. In some cases that means a single digit figure!
A second option is to sell your books back online. I have done this the past two semesters and was very happy with the amount I got back. While it’s still not much, the buyback prices online are at least five times better than the bookstore. This option takes a little more time and effort, but it’s really not that bad. The online stores listed above are the best sites to sell back your books. At these sites you usually have to open an account, type in the ISBN number, print out a shipping label and then drop the box off at the post office. Well worth it in my opinion.
Finally, you could keep your books and try to sell them to students at your school who are taking the same class next semester. This can get tricky because you have to find someone who wants to purchase the casebook and you have to hope that the professor is going to use the same book.
Also, don’t assume that you need to keep every casebook you use in law school for future reference. I know for a fact I’ll never open my Property book ever again, haha. However, if there’s an area you are interested in, like Torts or Contracts, you may want to keep your books as reference materials.
Whichever avenue you choose, it’s best to weigh your options and get quotes from both your local bookstore and online. Compare the prices in order to get the best deal. Just keep your expectations in check because you won’t get anywhere close to the full price of your casebooks.