It’s final exam time (if not already done), which also means it’s time to gear up for taking in a whole slew of barely used books. Who doesn’t love making money? The end-of-semester can be a college student’s favorite time of the year. This can also be a sore spot for many students expecting a big return on their books. There is nothing like paying $150 for a book a professor required students to get that maybe didn’t get used at all. Fast forward to the end of the semester and your student finds out they’re only getting $25 back for that barely used book. Yikes!
There are many factors when it comes to giving a price for buybacks. Books come out with new editions almost as often as the Apple comes out with a new iPhone—well not quite, but they do frequently come out with new editions. Sometimes the book goes out of print. Sometimes professors decide to use a different book.
What can you do to make this more enjoyable for your students? Get students to utilize your buyback programs instead of them selling on competitor’s websites. Make the buyback experience a fun one for your students. Give your students what they want! Make this a better experience for them and you.
Here’s some ideas to prepare you for buyback season:
- Offer an incentive. Coker College Bookstore gave away PayDay™ candy bars that contained an offer for a specific door prize. This resulted in them boosting their buyback by 59%! Giving away prizes is a low-cost option and you can pick a variety of prizes to give away. Coker College Bookstore ran out of their door prizes quickly, but students kept coming back to enter their name for the grand prize (mbsbooks.com).
- Turn it into a game. Gamification is quickly becoming popular in business marketing (think McDonald’s monopoly). This is a fantastic way to engage your students. They just finished their exams—let them relieve some of their stress by playing a game.
- Pick a theme for your buyback and make an event out of it.
- Go where your students are. Set up remote locations throughout campus for students to do their buyback. Go to high-traffic spots like the library, dining halls, resident halls, even just outside of lecture halls. Students are way more likely to participate in buyback if the location is more convenient for them.
- Food is the key to a hungry college student’s heart. Oklahoma State University Bookstore prepares popcorn during buyback. The smell spills out into the school’s massive union and draws students searching for a free snack. Students are more likely to be happy about their buyback when they’re fed. And really, who can resist the smell of popcorn?
It’s important to encourage students to participate in buyback programs. Make it an enjoyable process for your students and watch your sales grow.