Just in time for finals week, Jeffrey Loftin opened Textbook Brokers at 10 E. Ninth St., downstairs in what was formerly The Breakaway. Find out more, and reserve books, at www.textbooksreno.com. They’re open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended hours before and after finals week, from about 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. “If the lights are on, we’re here,” he says.
Is Ninth Street a relocation or a new location?
It’s an additional location. The [Truckee Meadows Community College] location is at 910 Parr Boulevard, just off the 395 exit, next to the 7-Eleven. … We buy, sell and rent every day. Generally, if you want to pick up TMCC books, Morrison University books or even some [Western Nevada College] titles, we’ll have them on Parr Boulevard. The store here next to Jimmy John’s is primarily for University of Nevada, Reno and for out-of-town schools. If you’re headed out of town and want to get your books with us—kids going to Oregon State or going to schools in California—they know our brand. There are 70 locations nationwide.
You say you buy books back for “top dollar.” What’s an example of that?
There’ll be plenty of times when campus is giving five or 10 bucks on a book, where we can pay three or four times that. Part of the reason being, we’re nationwide, and so we serve a national demand of books, and we specialize locally so we can also pay more on custom UNR and TMCC titles.
How does the process work?
Students walk in, and they basically provide their name and student email address, and we give them top dollar for their books. If they’d like store credit with us, we do additional money back with store credit. The best way for students to work with us is to print their schedule and bring it in, or they can use textbooksreno.com to reserve their books online.
How fast can they expect to get their books?
With the reservation process, the books will be ready the first week of school. … We’re not an internet company, so to speak. We give preference to the real customer standing right in front of us, so our website isn’t a pricing service, just a reservation service. Our prices are much lower than the local campuses’, and if we put those prices online, we’d sell out before the customers could come and get them. We’ve found that out at other locations. … Even books printed recently, even hot new titles, we can save the student 20-30 percent because we have stores all over the country and are able to sell them used when other stores don’t have them used.
People tend to think online is the cheapest. Why should they come to you?
People do think that, but because everyone thinks the prices there are better, they’re not, if that makes sense. There’s a run on that market because of perceived convenience. However, when customers buy from us, we do a guaranteed buy-back policy. If they buy the book from us, and it has our sticker on it—we sticker every book—when it comes back at the end of the semester, we guarantee half back. … Our average customer is here less than five minutes—plenty are less than 60 seconds. We do full counter service. The person hands us their schedule, and I literally trot down the aisle, grab the books and hand them out. We guarantee we’ll be faster and cheaper than campus 100 percent of the time. Some of the campus stores will have long lines—we’re very against long lines. … If you bring in a friend, you get extra money on your books, or if you add us on Facebook, you get extra money. … With our guaranteed buy-back policy, we’re unbeatable. If customers buy and sell their books with us, they’ll save an average of $300 a year.