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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Brand New Book Swap Brings Bargain Basement Bibliographies

A new book swap service could potentially save UMBeaners hefty wads of cash on their book bill for the winter and spring sessions. Started up by the apparently ubiquitous and enterprising MassPIRG and the incredibly brainy Computer Science Department, the Online Book Exchange lets students buy books from each other instead of the bookstore.

Students hit the Online Book Exchange website, http://usedbooks.cs.umb.edu, and search for their required texts. If they find it, they can buy it from the owner.

Because textbooks are so expensive, and selling books back a frankly laughable proposition, this could be huge. As the textbook market currently operates, a student buying a $165 textbook at the beginning of the semester can expect to sell the same book back, in pristine condition, for $5-$15. The book is marked “USED” and sold again for $125, a great big scam if ever there was one.

A quick peek at the website shows the user how to search for a book they want to buy: they can either add the title and ISDN and wait for someone selling the text to offer it, or they can look for a book being offered and put their name on a list of buyers. The seller chooses from the list and the exchange is made, presumably face to face.

There was no word on pricing, so it’s probably up to the seller to set the price and negotiate with the buyer. The book listings are a tad sparse right now, but that will change at the end of the semester as weary students try to unload their course books for some quick cash.

Keep an eye out-this could be big.

About the Contributor
Carl Brooks served as news editor for The Mass Media the following years: 2003-2004