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Alibris Uncovers Huge Untapped College Textbook Buyback Market

Online marketplace's survey reveals burgeoning demand for used college textbook buyback programs online

EMERYVILLE, CA—August 10, 2009—Alibris announced the results of a recent survey of new and used textbook buyers, which highlight the untapped growth potential for online services that buy used college textbooks. The survey findings come as students are returning to fall classes and the demand for cheap used textbooks is peaking.

Fall semester is traditionally when students buy new and used textbooks in droves. However, according to the Alibris survey of online textbook buyers, only 28% plan to sell back used textbooks. A very large number—72% of current students—either plan not to, or are uncertain they will, sell back their books. This indicates broad, untapped growth potential for textbook buyback programs.

The survey revealed further insight:

  • RESULTS: Of online buyback program users, 82% were satisfied with their transactions.
    FINDINGS: Students can reliably depend on online buyback programs and on Alibris's commitment to increase satisfaction levels.
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  • RESULTS: Of those who will or might sell back used books, 46% plan to do so within one month of their term's end. Remaining respondents may take six months or more to sell their books.
    FINDINGS: Students benefit when they sell back early, when prices generally are higher, and Alibris will promote early participation to encourage better sellback payments.
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  • RESULTS: Buyers are nearly twice as likely to buy textbooks from an online source if it also offers a textbook buyback program.
    FINDINGS: Students gain added convenience from Alibris, where they can buy cheap textbooks and sell back used textbooks in one convenient marketplace.   

"Students and parents are sitting on a gold mine at Alibris," said Brian Elliott, Alibris President and CEO. "Buying used textbooks at up to 80% off and then selling back used books is the most economical way to reduce high education costs." Elliott explained that Alibris is poised to expand its share of the textbook buyback market. "We'll continue to attract students interested in selling back their used textbooks by delivering top value to satisfied customers, and that should double the number of our buyback customers."

About Alibris

Alibris is the premier online marketplace for independent sellers of new and used books, music, and movies, as well as rare and out-of-print titles. Read more about us.



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