Students looking to spend less money on books this semester have found a variety of ways to avoid bookstore prices, from selling used books to friends and acquaintances to buying books on the Internet. Another option for students to consider is the Student Book Exchange, a book drive offered the first week of every semester.

Paul Wong
LSA senior Carrie McGee searches through stacks of books yesterday at the Student Book Exchange held in the Pond Room of the Michigan Union.

Students frequented the Pond Room of the Michigan Union yesterday looking for used books on subjects ranging from art history to women’s studies. Today is the final day of the four-day drive to purchase books.

The Student Book Exchange is a non-profit organization that relies on volunteers to help with its book drives. During the first two days of the drive, students drop off their used books. Other students can buy those books during the final two days of the exchange.

Engineering sophomore Josh Moll participated in the exchange last Fall Term and said he was satisfied with his experience. He came to the exchange looking for chemistry and economics textbooks.

“I come here first but most of the time I just go to the bookstore,” he said.

A group of six University students run the drive. One of the organizers, LSA senior Jennifer Foess, said it helps students find good deals. “Students can buy used books for cheaper and make more money selling back,” she said, adding “Students can set their own prices for the books that they sell.”

LSA sophomore Amanda Berger participated in the drive for the first time this semester, although she has taken part in another exchange sponsored by a different organization.

Berger didn’t find anything to buy and all of her used books are still sitting on the shelf, but she said she wanted to participate in the exchange because of the high prices at the bookstores.

“My chemistry books would have been like $170 used and that’s ridiculous,” she said. She said she also uses the Internet to avoid paying high prices at bookstores. Berger said she recently sold a book through Dogears.net, a new website that allows students to post ads for their books online and sell them to other University students.

Students pick up any unsold books at the end of the drive, as well as payment from books they sold. Students get back 85 percent of the selling price of their books while 15 percent is used to pay for costs such as room rental and advertisements.

Foess said most of the books sold are for undergraduate students, and that the winter drive is usually bigger than the fall. “This year is about average, but we had a really good day today,” she said.

Some students said there are some disadvantages of buying from the exchange, such as buying the wrong edition of a book. Berger said she could not buy her biology textbook at the exchange because it changed editions, which forced her to buy a brand new book.

But most students thought the benefits of participating in the exchange outweigh the risk of buying the wrong books. “I think it’s cheaper here so sometimes if you get lucky and find something you need you can save money,” Moll said.

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