Binghamton University students have designed an alternative to posting flyers on campus or visiting the University Bookstore to sell back their old textbooks.
“BU Textbook Buying/Selling Central,” a Facebook group created in 2008, allows students to sell and purchase their textbooks directly from other students.
How it works is simple. Once students have joined the group, they can write a wall post stating what books they are interested in buying or selling.
Students have also used the group to advertise other items for sale, including cell phones, appliances and event and bus tickets.
Yohav Abraham, who graduated from BU in 2008, created the group and is its current administrator.
“My goal was for the seller to make more money and for the buyer to save money,” Abraham said.
The group has approximately 3,000 members. They add about 50 wall posts each day.
To gain access to the group, students must either request to join or be invited by another person in the group.
“I would encourage all the students to invite everyone from Binghamton University that they know,” Abraham said.
Textbook prices are a constant financial concern for students. College textbook prices increased by 186 percent between 1986 and 2004, according to a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. The GAO report also stated that college students paid an average of $1,168 for course materials in 2010-11.
Students recoup about 35 to 50 percent of this cost through textbook sales, according to the Association of American Publishers.
Heather Prescott, manager of the BU Bookstore, said that students should be careful when purchasing textbooks through the BU Textbook Buying/Selling Central Facebook group.
“For students who use [BU Textbook Buying/Selling Central], we recommend comparing ISBN numbers,” Prescott said. “We get a lot of students who need help after purchasing the wrong edition of a book.”
Prescott also recommended other alternatives for students looking for solutions to expensive textbook costs.
“We understand that students are trying to save money, which is why we have options such as renting textbooks,” Prescott said.
Brenda Cain, a junior majoring in chemistry, said she is aware of the Facebook group but has never bought or sold a textbook via the group. She also said she thinks the page is disorganized and needs improvement.
“I wish [BU Textbook Buying/Selling Central] had some sort of organization, maybe by subject,” Cain said. “It is just incredibly cluttered.”
Zachary Hindin, a sophomore majoring in psychology, who is also a member of Pipe Dream’s business staff, said he has sold many textbooks through the group. He said he finds it a more honest source for purchasing textbooks.
“These students are forced to look up and buy unnecessary and expensive package deals from the Binghamton University Bookstore, only to find that their teacher doesn’t utilize all aspects of the ‘required’ package,” Hindin said.