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Molly Birch

My name is Molly, and I am in my second year at NMU. I come from Midland, MI, probably one of the most boring places on earth. However, we do have the only Tridge in the world, so that’s pretty nifty...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

Students hope for money at buyback

With the semester drawing to a close, one of the most anticipated events of the year by NMU students is now in full swing: the buyback from the NMU bookstore.

Assistant manager Paul Wright said that last year the bookstore bought back nearly $400,000 in books, but realizes that money is spread thin with 9,000 students on campus.

“That only averages $40 a student, but not everybody brings their books in,” Wright said.

Wright said that the best time for students to bring their books in for cash is during the final two weeks of the semester.

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“That’s when we need the books and haven’t gone looking anywhere else,” Wright said. “We expect to buy certain numbers from the students, and they are our best for the books.”

An NMU bookstore worker gives out money to a student returning her books. The bookstore will continiue to accept books for buyback through this week and the next. // Ben Hocking/NW

On May 3, Wright said he will start looking for needed textbooks elsewhere because he can’t be sure if students will bring in the necessary texts.

Students may often feel frustrated when they go to return their books but aren’t offered a lot of money for it. This is often because professors haven’t selected their books for the next semester. Wright said there are a number of reasons as to why some professors don’t report what they need right away.

“Some of them haven’t been assigned their classes yet, so we can’t buy their books back,” Wright said. “If the faculty is researching other books and they’re not sure which book they’re going to use, then we wouldn’t have ordered the book yet.”

According to Wright, books brought in can’t be too beat up.

“As long as it’s in good condition or new condition and we need it for campus, then we’ll pay half the new price,” Wright said.

The amount of money students get for each book depends on what the national market is for it, Wright said.

“If there’s a great need for a book around the country, then the price is going to be higher,” Wright said.

Students who aren’t getting paid much for a book may want to wait until the next semester the class is offered since the bookstore will have more demand for it then.

“Sometimes if it’s a winter-only class, they might want to wait until next December, and if we need the books we’ll buy them again,” Wright said.

While some may be able to wait, those who need the money right away may want to try selling their books at other stores or online, but other places may not be offering the best price, either.

“For one student, we were offering 50 cents on a book and he refused it,” Wright said. “He was back in about 20 minutes because it was only a penny on”

Wright said he is able to commiserate with students who get upset when they are not given what they expect on their textbooks.

“They’ve got some number in their head they want to get back and when we offer them very little for their books it can be pretty upsetting, especially if they were expecting to spend that money on gas to get home or for rent next month,” Wright said.

The books that are receiving the most money during buyback are the chemistry and biology books.

“Those are big, expensive books, and we’re paying quite a bit for them,” Wright said. “We need them and we know we need them.”

Junior Matthew Randell was hoping to get as much money back as he could but was disappointed with what he ended up with.

“You spend so much and you get half back,” Randell said. “As a college student struggling for money you want to get as much back (as possible).”

Randell also said he’s thought about selling books elsewhere, but that it was a bit of a bother.

“I’ve bought books online, and I always say I’m going to sell them online, but (it’s a) hassle trying to sell it and set it up and then making sure that I get it mailed out,” Randell said.

Julie Johnson is a senior social work major and paid around $500 for her books. When she brought them back, she received $46.

“I’d like $100 at least to make up for all the hundreds I’d spent,” Johnson said. “A lot of the teachers have been requiring two or three textbooks for each class, and it’s ridiculous.”

Johnson said she knew she wasn’t going to get a good price because she’s brought her books back to the bookstore before but continues to go there because of the convenience.

“This place is quick and easy, so I just bring them here,” Johnson said.

More information regarding the dates the bookstore is holding their buyback can be found at

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