Over 100 people to lose jobs due to Nebraska Book Company closure

I realize that Books are a tough segment. Is COVID/Digital affecting other Book Sellers similarly? Or is this a one-off?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but it looks like they were in an even tougher segment, USED TEXTBOOKS.

Used Textbooks has always been risky, because you buy at the end of the semester HOPING that the professors assign the same boon next semester. Adding to that are one time use digital codes, I think they have been on thin ice for some time.


I don’t think your wrong.
For some reason, I thought a Seller on the OSFE worked there, something like HuskerBooks :man_shrugging:


It likely depends on the model. NBC was basically a B2B used textbook distributor, not direct-to-consumer.

I hate it for a company operating since 1915, but they said it very well… “they did not have the inventory they needed to hit sales they needed to continue business operations” because they couldn’t “scavenge” in the numbers needed.

They could possibly pivot to B2C on Amazon, given their reduced (now more manageable for Amazon) inventory. They would be a candidate for publisher approvals, if there ever was one.


Tough segment.

A problem buyer for Amazon sellers in the past. Have not heard their name mentioned for years.

I have no clue how used textbook resellers survive.

Lowlife customers, extremely acute inventory buyers required, and the effects of online textbooks and textbook rentals make demand side problems, postal increases make for cost problems.

Growing prices do not make up for losses due to fraud or buying mistakes when margins are low and expenses are high.


While I was doing this a couple years ago I always made out very well.

I posted in a local FB Group, and a couple times set up on the corner where the students come out of our community college.

It wasn’t enough volume to do full scale, but I also never pushed it because of the investment costs.

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Used textbooks?

My daughter doesn’t even have new textbooks at UNCW. They’re working off PDFs or some other digital version for almost every class.

It is true that I haven’t opened any of the Chemistry, Calculus, or my multitude of Engineering books I kept in a long time. BUT there could be a day that I need a non-online reference… though unlikely.


My daughter is in her freshmen year and she’s had to buy very few physical textbooks.

My son is in his freshmen year of High School and he has very few textbooks. It’s all on the iPad now… This is a drastic change from just 5 years ago when my daughter started HS. I remember her 40lb backpack. My son’s is relatively empty.

Textbooks outside of medical / science / perhaps law are on life support. I could see why something used in a dying format wouldn’t be faring very well at the moment.

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I still crack open my Machinist Handbook from time to time. Love the way the old leather cover smells and the feel of the pages.

I also still remember the second semester, and the professor said a new version was out. I held my breath, until he said, “Don’t worry you can use the old one.” This in his heavy Portuguese accent. If I remember the damn thing cost $80 way back in the late 70’s

TBT all the stuff is available online, just feels good reaching for it in the bookcase.

The thing even has tables in it that calculators, or online calculators do now. We had to learn and use a slide rule. Just in case we did not have batteries. According to the professors.

Best thing ever. Why? You have to do the work in your head to get close to the answer. I do that everyday. My right hand man (a woman) born way after the calculator was, also does it. Priceless.


I cracked open YouTube on Sunday when my dryer broke.

10 mins later, I had my solution which cost $40 instead of $300 to have someone come in or $900 for a new one.

I have to admit that the internet has improved a few things. :wink:


Yes, it drives me nuts. All these dryers at the dump. (recycling center) All they need is a $10 belt and a smart person to look up how to do it.

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This was a $4.00 thermal fuse. The real money was buying the continuity tester I bought to find out which part was shot. Now I have that for future appliance repairs.

I was just about to walk out the door and buy a new dryer (this one is only 4 years old). I took a look at how expensive they have gotten and then had second thoughts.

Believe we isolated the cause of the fuse blowing today. My mother in law had a cloth lined / rubber backed lift panel in there when it happened. This is used to lift my bedbound father in law who’s currently with us under hospice care. It’s supposed to be able to be washed / dried but I have a feeling that’s what happened. Probably got super hot.

She washed it again today and hung it outside to dry…

Glad it happened. It had been about 2 years since I cleaned the whole vent line out end to end. It was time.


Yeah and that same thermal fuse is used by just about every mfr, but does Lowes, Home Depot, Menards, etc carry it? Nope. I bought a 10pk of them on Amazon for $8.


Because you couldn’t get the 30¢ part (and for some models still can’t). Really, not everybody can/will wait six months, but last year my one year old dishwasher (two weeks out of warranty), developed a leak. It was a washer/seal on the heating element that had been installed backward causing premature failure. It took six months to find a heating element for $150.00 which came with the washers. Never was with all my resources and connections able to actually find the washer. Funny side story, you can’t even get one fabricated because it seems that due to US Enviromental and worker protection regulations nobody domestically will mould or machine the heat resistance rubber polymer gasket.

Like the story goes quote, “For want of a nail the kingdom was lost…”

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Used Textbooks has gotten really tough.

Before my sister retired this past July, she was a dean at a major university; she told me that the goal for the school was to be 100% e-books by 2025; the transition has been going for several years already. I suspect other schools are going the same route; those still using printed books have the whole “access code” issue, too. All trends to take away the option of Used books for students, so that schools and publishers get more money.

5-6 years ago, when I got to a booksale, I made a beeline to the textbooks, where looking for books became a contact sport. Between the e-book trend, and restrictions by Amazon, I barely bother now, at least if there are other good books to look at.


In the Internet age there are all of these sites like Angie and Home Advisor who are providing fixed prices for repair using services which are generating flat rate estimates. Because many buyers want flat rates.

That $10 part may become a part of a $300 flat rate estimate.

Here is an example from a home a/c system.

Compressor will not start.

Electrolytic capacitor identical to the manufacturer’s part. $8 on Amazon.

The part the service man carries on his truck, $39 on Amazon. Can be jumpered for different systems.

The flat rate estimate for the repair $300 or more, including travel time.

Time to do the repair, approximately 10 minutes.


Right but when you have a diploma, with mad skills at beer pong and SnapChat, having learned that things like facts, numbers, laws of physics and genders are fluid. But things like feelings are important. You might be not be best equipped to remove three screws, unplug two wires, remove a nut from a bolt, remove a defect part, then put everything back again in the same order. Which would leave you feeling quite inadequate and scared, so you just toss the thousand dollar appliance, seek a safe place and then blame your mother during your therapy session on Thursdays before Yoga, after you have had your vegan, keto smoothie.

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Problem solving has become the domain of blue collar workers, many of them exceed the incomes of college educated individuals who have to drive cabs or for Uber or wait tables.


I also learned machining/precision sheetmetal back in the 1960’s and had my share of machinist handbooks. I also am from the slide rule era, I remember the first TI calculators and slide rules and note pads disappearing from the shop.