Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Of Books and Gift-Cards: A Discovery

My book stack had grown a bit thin, so I visited Amazon to see what I could do about replenishing the supply and continuing to progress through my book list without breaking the bank.

Suddenly, I noticed a suspicious link on the right side of the screen. One of my painfully expensive textbook purchases appeared below the words "Sell back your copy." Underneath this catchy line was a tempting "Gift Card Value" and a hefty little sum. Could it be? Could I sell my boring expensive ugly textbooks back for more than just peanuts and actually get more books, better books, prettier books in return?

Creative Commons License: The Best Days Are Not Planned by Marcus Hansson on Flickr.

The process seems sinfully simple. I clicked "Trade in Now." and followed the three or four breathlessly easy steps. I printed off the label. Tomorrow I shall purchase an envelope from the post-office, assemble the package, mail it, and wait in suspense.

Supposedly I will receive a pleasant little sum into my Amazon account in return, money that can be applied towards resupplying my bookshelf!

Too good to be true? Maybe. Chronicles to be continued.... 

I'm fascinated by this deal. Am I the last one to discover this little gem of a trade? How do you expand your library without bruising the budget?


Madeline Adams said...

I like this post a lot, but have you considered what's going to happen to the real bookstore? Buying from Barnes and Noble, Horizon, or even used bookstores can be more expensive, but is being able to browse and touch real books maybe worth it, considering that experience will be nonexistent once real bookstores have been put out of business?

Emily said...

You're right! The experience of real book-browsing is irreplaceable in an online environment. But this is a valuable idea in that it helps you get rid of books you don't want sitting around and gives you something pretty substantial in return. I'd rather have $50 to spend on Amazon than nothing to spend at Barnes and Noble.

Monica Jacobson said...

Ah, I disagree with Madeline. Yes, touching real books is important, but what if the real books are junk? Last time I visited a Barnes and Noble, I saw some beautifully gilt covered books with lovely illustrations. Only, they were falling apart. And they weren't even off the shelf. I don't actually have any problem with them being put out of business. If they can't use quality illustrators (which is also a sad thing), and can't bind their books to last, I don't have any use for them. I'd rather have a kindle than a paperback or a hardback that falls apart after three reads.

In fact, I think there's an argument for kindle reading for books with cheap content, and then expensive, well-bound books for ones that you want to keep in your library.

Personally, I'd rather support the author than the publishing house. Not that I'm doing it... but if I had to choose, that's what I'd do.

Monica Jacobson said...

P.S. I buy old books on Amazon, Ebay, and And I just happened on this place, and I'm considering signing up:

Emily said...

Monica, I think that's a great point. I do that too! I put books that I only plan to read once and that are substantially cheaper on Kindle. I also like the idea of supporting the author directly! You always have great input. Thanks for the link!