More students buy back textbooks

Ten students are representatives of the New York-based online textbook company Belltower Books.
Patrons dig through items at the Tiger Treasures rummage sale on Saturday. Tiger Treasures welcomed Columbia residents to purchase items collected from Residential Halls during move-out.

The end of the semester means finals, a mad dash to spend swipes at dining halls and the business of buying and selling textbooks.

Ten students entered the business of buying back textbooks as representatives of Belltower Books, a New York-based online textbook company.

Junior Matthew Davidson is one of those students. As the Belltower Books campus captain, Davidson said he supervised the largest group of Belltower buyers this past semester. The buyers bought about 800 books from students, using social media as a primary tool to get the word out, Davidson said.

Davidson has worked with Belltower for three semesters. His job as captain has kept him busy, he said. He's in charge of getting cash to the buyers as well as taking the books to a storage unit where they're later picked up. He also sold books himself and worked with other buyers.

"It is hard to balance everything during finals week," Davidson said.

One of Davidson's buyers was sophomore Onna Farris, who found out about the job on a flyer and completed a training session. She makes money off of commission, so she promoted herself on Facebook.

"It is such a huge network," Farris said. "You don't even have to leave to the room."

Farris said Facebook was the primary way she found sellers, and she would not have been as successful without it.

Davidson said he's found that the best way to buy books is on social media, but he has had success by going to finals and buying books once the exam is completed.

Farris said she tried to make it easier on students by coming to them and buying back books that The Mizzou Store did not. Belltower will buy back any book with an ISBN number, Farris said.

Buyers can download a smartphone app that provides the prices Belltower offers for different textbooks. If a buyer does not have a smartphone, then they get a PDA. Prices are final and buyers cannot negotiate.

Davidson said they try to offer more money for books than The Mizzou Store. Also, Belltower tries to keep its prices consistent as they buy books, he said.

Farris said she's lost some sales to other students who sell their books on Facebook. She also said she's given away sales when she knows a student can get a better price.

"I want to find everyone the best deal," Farris said.

Students who do not find Farris, Davidson or the other Belltower buyers have the option to sell back their textbooks through The Mizzou Store.

Sophomore Eddie Duckworth said he was upset when The Mizzou Store wouldn't buy back his books that he bought there.

"It's a slap in the face," Duckworth said.

Duckworth said he's trying to sell his textbooks via Facebook by posting in different groups, although he hasn't been successful yet.

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