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Money crunch: Students create alternative to bookstore buy back
College textbooks are a billion dollar industry. Based on figures from the National Association of College Stores (NACS), the estimated textbook and course materials market for the 2000-2001 academic year was $7.1 billion.
The NACS also reports a continuous increase in the cost of textbooks and supplies that reaches nearly $700 per school year. Monument Information Resources’ calculations found that between 1999 and 2000, the average of new textbook prices went up $4.45, while the average price of a used textbook went up $3.
With the average cost of books and supplies for a school year reaching $625 to $700, according to the NACS, many students are searching for options to save money.
Even though the Quinnipiac bookstore buys back books each semester, students do have other options. One option is using an online, student designed textbook company called QuBooks.com. The purpose of this business is to allow Quinnipiac students a fair chance to easily purchase and sell their textbooks while saving and maybe even making money.
“You can sell and buy books back, post books online and sell them to people who need them next year,” said Michael Radparvar, a sophomore international business major and one of three students who helped to design QuBooks.com.
Michael Germano and Yusuf Qasim, the other two creators, said they agreed with students that say textbook prices are high.
“Every year prices continue to go up,” said Germano, a sophomore marketing and political science major. “So, with the books that we bought from the bookstore being ours, we can technically do whatever we want with them. And once students realize that they can save money, every student has the opportunity to use [our web site] and the better the site will be.”
Students who use this site to sell books must sell them for less than thirty percent of the original value. There will be a ten-dollar subscription fee per semester for each student who chooses to buy and sell books on QuBooks.com.
Germano said this flat rate is hopefully going to cover some of the expenses in getting the site up and running.
Each user is allowed to sell eight books and buy eight books, allotting a total of 16 transactions. This is to ensure that each user does not buy books for friends and other students. If the books do not sell on the web site, students will still have the option of selling it back to the bookstore.
“No one has to feel obligated to use this system,” said Qasim, a freshman marketing major. “You can search for books without being charged, but once you start selling and buying books, you will be charged the fee.”
Students who go to the web site can search for books by subject, course, book title, author, edition or copyright date. When the students find what they want to buy or sell, the exchange, payment and delivery between them and the other student is strictly their business.
Freshmen are going to be targeted as the major market for this web site. The three students plan to advertise through information sessions in freshmen dorms and through QuLife.com, another web site that Qasim designed.
“Our short term goal is to have students get books at lower prices,” said Germano. “Our long term goal is to make the bookstore realize that they are charging too much for books.”
Radparvar, Germano and Qasim have been working on this web site for a little over two weeks, constantly revising the system. The group plans to have the site opening on Dec. 2.
The three students are also looking into collecting all of the books that are placed in the bins in front of the bookstore and sending them to places where they will be more useful.
Students who would like further information on QuBooks, can contact the three students by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.