LSA freshman Lei Lei Sun is like many students who feel they are paying too much for textbooks and getting too little cash in return when they sell their used books back to local bookstores.
“It”s ridiculous,” Sun said. “I bought a book for my math class and I paid $60 for it and I only got half back, other books are more like 25 percent back. That”s stupid.”
For students like Sun, there is an alternative to the high prices of the bookstores the Student Book Exchange.
The Student Book Exchange, which will be held this week in the Pond Room of the Michigan Union from 11 to 6 p.m., allows students to save money by purchasing and selling their books directly to other students, thereby cutting out the bookstores as middle men.
“It”s a different way to buy your books,” said LSA senior Michael Thompson, who is a volunteer at the Student Book Exchange. “The bookstores aren”t going to give you a fair amount of money for your books. We allow the students to price their books it also allows students to find the book they need for cheaper prices.”
Students will be able to drop off and name their own price for their books today and tomorrow, and on Wednesday and Thursday students can purchase books. On Friday, students can claim the money for the books they sold and pick up any of their unsold books, Thompson said.
Many students have found books for a lower price at the Student Book Exchange than in the bookstores.
“I got a class book winter of last year that was selling used in the bookstores for $70 and I got it for $35,” said LSA senior Melissa Hofmeister.
Hofmeister said students have the best luck finding books for first-year courses such as introduction to chemistry or economics.
“There are mostly books for the larger classes sometimes you have a hard time finding books within your major,” she said.
Thompson said he advises students to sell their books for less than the bookstore as well as other students who are selling the same book.
“Go and find out what is it selling for new or used in the bookstores, and I”d typically try and sell it for a little less,” Thompson said. “Its kind of a guessing game because we don”t allow students to look at the prices for other students” books. You want to sell it for less than the bookstores but at the same time make yourself some money.”
Thompson said he feels students have nothing to lose by participating in the Student Book Exchange.
“In my experience, when you do sell a book, I have always gotten a lot more than I”ve gotten at the bookstores,” Thompson said. “If your book doesn”t sell you can still take it to the bookstore after words.”
In the past, up to 600 students a semester have used the book exchange, but in recent years the number has drastically declined due to the better prices and service from online companies, Thompson said.
“In the fall drive we usually consider it a pretty good job if you do about $10,000. I think last semester we dropped off a lot,” Thompson said.