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COVID-19 Sellback Update!

Due to the COVID-19 crisis and campus building closures, students will return spring semester textbooks using one of the two contact free options below. All money due to the student for textbooks sold will be applied as a credit to the student account at Cowley.


The Cowley College Bookstore will be providing USPS Return Shipping Labels to all spring semester students.

  1. Check the Sellback List to see which textbooks are eligible to be bought back. Please do NOT return textbooks that the Cowley Bookstore is not buying!
  2. Print and complete the Textbook Return Form and include inside the shipment.
  3. Generate and print the USPS Return Shipping Label, using your Cowley Student ID number as the RMA.
  4. Carefully pack textbooks, including the Textbook Return Form, and ship to the Cowley College Bookstore.
  5. All shipments must arrive at the Cowley Bookstore no later than May 15, 2020.
  6. Credit due to students for textbooks sold will be applied to the student account at Cowley.


Students who reside in the Ark City area are welcome to utilize the no contact Book Drop at the Cowley College Bookstore. Located on the west side of the building, the Book Drop is available to students 24/7.

Cowley College Bookstore
207 W. 5th Avenue
Arkansas City, KS 67005

  1. Check the Sellback List to see which textbooks are eligible to be bought back. Please do NOT return textbooks that the Cowley Bookstore is not buying!
  2. All textbooks deposited in the Book Drop must include a Textbook Return Form. Do not write on or inside the textbook!
  3. All textbooks must be deposited in the Book Drop by 4:30pm on May 15, 2020.
  4. Credit due to students for textbooks sold will be applied to the student account at Cowley.


Sellback Frequently Asked Questions

Textbook sellback is an important part of the Cowley Bookstore's total textbook program. Buying textbooks back from students helps us to keep an extensive selection of used books in stock, and enables us to pay students for textbooks which will be required by a Cowley College course the following semester. The following information contains answers to the questions most frequently asked about sellback.

Why does the Cowley Bookstore offer a sellback service?

There are two reasons: one is to establish a means for students to dispose of texts no longer needed or wanted; the other is to obtain a supply of required books that can be resold to students at the lowest possible price. Although we aggressively shop the used book wholesalers, our best source of used books is still our own students.

When is sellback?

Sellback is held during final exam week at the conclusion of each semester. Specific sellback dates and hours are printed on your bookstore register receipt as well as posted campus wide and online approximately two weeks before the end of the semester. Upcoming sellback dates are as follows:

SPRING 2020: MAY 4-15
SUMMER 2020: JULY 22-24
FALL 2020: DECEMBER 14-18
SPRING 2021: MAY 10-14

Do I need my sales receipt to sell books?

No. While a receipt is required to return books for a 100% refund during the full return period, you do NOT need a receipt to sell books at sellback. The only thing you need to bring to sellback is your Cowley student ID card and your textbooks.

How does the bookstore determine which books to buy?

The selection of textbooks is always dependent on whether or not the book will be used in the upcoming term. As textbooks are approved for use in an upcoming semester, the bookstore compiles a list of textbooks that will be bought back from students.

Next, using class enrollments and existing book inventories, our textbook manager determines the quantity of each book which can be purchased at sellback.

Why are some books worth so much more than others?

The best price is always paid for textbooks purchased for the Cowley Bookstore for the upcoming semester. If your book is in reasonable condition and will be used for a Cowley College course in the upcoming semester, the Bookstore will pay you up to 50% of the new textbook price. For example, a textbook with a new price of $100 could be worth $50 if purchased for the Cowley Bookstore.

If a textbook is not needed at Cowley College for the coming semester, it may still be possible to sell it through the Bookstore to a used book wholesaler. This is a special service we offer to students who wish to sell their books even though we can't buy them at the higher bookstore price. Used book wholesalers base the price they will pay for a book on their perceived "marketability" of that particular book. Wholesale companies typically pay between 10% and 30% of the new book price for current editions of textbooks they can resell to other colleges and universities nationwide.

In some cases, there are limits to the quantity of textbooks the Bookstore needs of a certain title. Once the Bookstore has reached its quota of such a book, we can only offer the ‘wholesale’ value, i.e. the price the wholesaler will pay for that book. If for example, the bookstore needs only 50 copies of a book, we will pay up to 50% of the new price for the first 50 textbooks we buy. Any books purchased after that will be purchased for the wholesale market at the wholesale price.

Why do some books have no value to either the bookstore or a used book wholesaler?

Some of the most common reasons for a book to have no resale value are listed below.

  • THE BOOK IS AN OLD EDITION-The average life of a textbook is about three years. The closer a book gets to this point, the less wholesale value it has. In general, it is best to sell your books as soon as possible after you have determined you no longer need or want them.
  • THE BOOK IS IN UNSALEABLE CONDITION-Examples would include books with lost, torn or illegible covers, water damage, missing pages, contents separated from covers, loose bindings, or excessive highlighting which would make the book useless to the next person who buys it. We reserve the right to refuse any book that in our judgment has deteriorated to an unsalable condition.
  • THE BOOK IS CONSUMABLE-In general, we do not buy back workbooks, lab manuals, study guides, solutions manual, loose leaf textbooks, books with perforated pages, and access codes.

Anything else I should know about sellback?

We can't give specific buyback information over the telephone. It is simply too busy in the store and only the textbook buyers at the sellback counter have the updated information necessary to give the right answers.

Finally, there is never a guarantee that textbooks you purchase will be used again by any instructor anywhere in the country. Textbooks are a learning tool, and hopefully, valuable to your education. You should not buy books with expectation of reselling every one of them; that happens in very few cases. The real value of a book is obtained by studying it carefully. If it can be resold when no longer needed, that is an added bonus.