The Hill in Search of Profits Disregards Students

The end of Week Two usually brings about a plethora of Anteaters dropping, adding, or switching classes that they were originally enrolled in. Most students order their books online from different websites before instructions begin, but of course there is always that one class that requires the pesky UCI-specific edition of a book or a book you can’t find anywhere else. Anteaters at this point turn to The Hill for their book-buying needs.

The Hill is usually good about their buyback and price matching when it comes to course books, but this year their return policy is causing a stir. The return policy has changed from a grace period of seven days to a span of two days after purchase.

Every year it feels like the return window gets shorter and shorter. Though The Hill does students a great convenience, the return policy is definitely an inconvenience.

Before, Anteaters had a week to decide whether they were going to actually need the book for a class they were enrolled in. Now, students have to decide even quicker in a time period that may conflict with the actual instructional period.

What happens if you buy the book for a class and it isn’t in full swing until several days later, as most classes are? There are modes of selling back books to other retailers, but definitely not for the original price.

The Hill seeks a profit, bottom line. The incentive for the shorter return period is to catch students in the “limbo period” of adding/dropping a class in order to maximize profits.

Added a class and bought the book but ended up hating it? Have fun only getting about 30 percent back of what you paid for your unopened book. I’ve been in situations where small classes required the book on the first day or else the professor would take off points from midterms and final.

It is understandable that The Hill wants to turn a profit, but not every aspect of college should be designed to be maximally profitable. College students are paying enough for their education, housing and textbooks already, but those all have some form of resulting benefit. The return policy makes buying textbooks from The Hill a last resort and almost a death sentence if you are unsure you need the book. It’s a “cut your losses” kind of deal that’ll leave customers uneasy.

A suitable period for students to return their books could be a week or two. This gives the student time to evaluate the course and change their mind about it if needed. It provides a length of time where they can attend more than the introduction/syllabus overview class and really decide.

In the end, the windows are getting shorter and shorter which definitely does not promote students’ patronage of The Hill and is making a lot of students (I included) unhappy.

Two days is too short.


Jacqueline Rosenberg is a second-year biomedical engineering and literary journalism double major and can be contacted at