Students sell books for cash despite weather

Tuesday, December 16, 2008 | 7:19 p.m. CST; updated 12:11 p.m. CST, Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Christine Kruse, an MU sophomore, sells back textbooks from the fall semester. Kruse made $80 on her buyback Tuesday.

COLUMBIA – Snow and below-freezing temperatures didn’t stop a number of students from selling books in open tents set up on campus parking lots Tuesday.

Despite the weather, some came for the opportunity to get cash back in an uncertain economy.

MU freshman Jared Main, 19, sold his books back for the first time here Tuesday instead of going to the MU bookstore.

“I pay for college on my own,” Main said. “I heard they give you more money for your books. With the economy, I want to max the money I get back.”

Two book-buying businesses parked in the Domino’s and Flying Cow lots on Ninth Street to buy textbooks from MU students during finals week.

Aaron and Brandon Knoblauch, 24 and 21, respectively, started 1UpBooks four semesters ago in the Shakespeare’s parking lot. They moved from Shakespeare’s to the Flying Cow to improve their location, said Brandon Knoblauch, a senior finance major at MU.

The brothers fought the cold with a portable heater, free hot chocolate and candy canes.

“Generally when the weather is bad, (business) is a little worse,” Brandon said. “But it was this bad or worse last December, and considering the weather, we’re doing really well in comparison.”

Brad Bolz, owner of Kirksville-based Brad’s Books, stood across the parking lot prepared for the weather in multiple layers. Bolz said he is able to offer competitive prices on textbooks because he works with multiple text book wholesalers.

Truman State University senior Sarah Schmidt, 22, came down from Kirksville to work for Brad. She said she noticed students selling books back because of the economy.

“People are more choosy about the prices,” Schmidt said. While the company still offers high prices, she said, "people are more careful about their money.”

MU sophomore Austin Kim, 20, returned to Brad’s Books this year because he likes the prices, he said. He said finances are getting tough because of the economic crisis.

“I’m cutting back like everybody else, not being so wasteful. Trying to eat in as much as possible,” Kim said.

“I looked at my checking account the other day and almost cried. I may have to get a job next semester, but it may be tough, what with the MU hiring freeze.”

Schmidt said that compared to last fall, they have had fewer customers, though that may have something to do with the weather.

“If the bad weather continues, I may come down the first two days of class and do a buy back,” Bolz said. “A lot of students aren’t going to come out in 15-degree cold.”

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