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BookScouter Pro: Historic Buyback Price Tool

News & Updates By May 11, 2010 No Comments

One of our BookScouter Pro Tools is a Historic Buyback Price tool that allows you to analyze past book prices. This tool can be used to understand pricing trends for a given book or collection of books. It can assist you in determining the best time to sell your books. Here are a few examples:

  • Using the Historic Buyback Price tool we find that Single Variable Calculus (0495559725) was sold for $78.38 in May of 2009, and in May of 2010 it sells for $82.13. So according to this, May seems to be the highest selling point for this book.
  • The average price for Conceptual Physics (0321548094) at its highest was $32.40, but it is now only $15.61. This may be one of those books that you would want to hold for a while to see if the price will go back up.

Hopefully this quick introduction has given you some insight into the power of the Historic Buyback Price tool. It should allow you to maximize your selling prices and help you earn more money. If you have any questions or suggestions please feel free to comment!


Site Performance

News & Updates By May 4, 2010 No Comments

This is probably the busiest week of the year for this site. BookScouter traffic has more than tripled since last year at this time. Last week I added an extra server to give the site some more capacity. I’m happy that all of the servers have been performing well! The problem now is all of the websites whose prices this site is searching are also getting stressed. It is their busiest time of the year as well, and some of them aren’t handling the added volume as well as others. That means that sometimes when BookScouter tries to look up prices on their sites, it goes really slowly. That in-turn causes prices to show up slower on BookScouter. I’ve tried to account for slow sites, and in general it does a good job, but I’m occasionally seeing issues where it still goes slowly. I’m investigating those more closely to see if I can prevent the cases that are still getting through.

I’ve also been working on tweaking some server-related settings to try and optimize things as much as possible. I’m keeping a pretty close eye on things and continually trying to make sure that the site is performing well for everybody.

As always, please Contact us if you would like to let us know how how the site is working for you.


Renting versus Buying

Personal finance By April 30, 2010 1 Comment

Online book rental companies are a new alternative for college students in need of textbooks. So the question is, “Is it better to buy or rent?” It depends on each individual’s situation and preference. If you’re the type of person that buys your book at full price and never gets around to selling it, then renting textbooks is definitely for you. But, if you shop around for the best deal, when purchasing a book and then use a site like Bookscouter to sell it back, then buying textbooks is the way to go.

Let’s do a case study, I’m going to pretend that I have to buy Molecular Cell Biology (9780716776017), which retails at $131.67. First I am going to find the lowest price I can rent it for at Textbookrenter. Then I am going to see how much I can buy it for at Campusbooks. After that,  I am going find out how much I can sell it for here at Bookscouter. The new historic buyback feature can show you that the price of that book has slowly gone down over time, but today (April 29th) it seems to have jumped back up a bit.

The lowest rental price was $42.21 from Campusbookrentals.com. The lowest buying price was $57.49 from Amazon.com. The highest selling price was $47.12 from Firstclassbooks.com. So if I rented the book it would have cost me a total of $42.21. If I bought the book and sold it, it would cost me a total of $10.37.

The benefit of renting is that you don’t have to worry if all of the sudden the author comes out with a new edition and your book becomes unwanted. Renting also is usually more convenient then buying and selling because it saves time. At the end of the day, if you’re willing to buy and sell your books, you will usually end up with a few more dollars in your pockets then if you rented.


New User Accounts Available, Plus Three Vendors Fixed

News & Updates By April 28, 2010 2 Comments

I’ve just added a few more new features to the site. Users now have the ability to create an account at BookScouter.com and customize the list of vendors that are searched. This should make it so that you only see the vendors that you’re actually interested in selling to. You can still click a link to view all of the vendors as well. If you are not logged in, then some of the most reliable sites are shown by default. I’ve also fixed a few problems that people have let me know about. We Buy Textbooks recently changed their site, so prices weren’t being displayed, and that has been corrected.

AbeBooks pricing hasn’t been showing recently because they had blocked my program from accessing their site. I was able to work around that by using TextbooksRus‘s price which always matches to the penny. (In case you didn’t know, AbeBooks buyback program is run by TextbooksRus anyway). Their price is now showing, but I still recommend that you use TextbooksRus directly to avoid the extra company in the middle.

Finally, I also fixed a problem where pricing from Powells Books sometimes wouldn’t show. I worked with them to get that resolved, and it should be working well now.


BookScouter is Faster, Cleaner, and has New Features

News & Updates By April 25, 2010 5 Comments

I’ve been working for a while on some significant changes to the website. The first thing you’ll notice is that the old template has been replaced with a much cleaner (and I think nicer looking) page. But the changes go much deeper than just a new template. I’ve completely reworked how most of the back-end systems work. The new design should allow for much greater flexibility and scalability. I’ll be able to add new websites quickly, and I’ll have the ability to work on some new tools for higher-volume users. The site should also load faster throughout. Every page should load quicker due to some HTML and CSS changes. I’ve also reconfigured some server settings to better take advantage of browser caching. The actual price comparison page should finish quicker as well. I’m using some different technology to make all of those lookups happen simultaneously.

Additionally, I’ve made it so that only the most popular websites are listed by default. The full list of pricing is available with an extra click. That should make the initial pricing appear in around 5-7 seconds.

I’ve tried to work on some simple usability issues as well. For example, I’ve added a search box to the header so that you no longer have to go back to the home page to start a new search. Additionally, the cursor should be in that ISBN input box when the page loads, so you can start typing (or scanning) an ISBN immediately without having to click in the box.

And the final change that I’m exited to introduce is that historic pricing information is available. You can now see the book buyback pricing for any searches that the site has done since July 2007. I’ve been collecting that information since then, but never had a way for users to see it until now.

Please feel free to leave feedback about the new design or functionality by commenting on this post, by using the Contact Form or emailing me directly.