Book Exchange 2.0
Most students hate purchasing and selling textbooks each semester. They’re grossly over-priced, and when you go to sell them back, a book that cost you $200 is now magically worth $40, yet sold for $200. It doesn’t make much sense, but most of us do it twice a year. In order to combat this, the University Park Undergraduate Association implemented the student Book Exchange program, where students sell and buy books from other Penn State students for no additional costs or surcharges.
The plan has been around for almost two years, but the UPUA has been working on some spiffy updates: a quick search option, a more advanced search option, and a profile page to keep track of your order history. The new version will be similar to Amazon in its functionality.
Students seem to be pretty excited for Book Exchange 2.0; the straightforward, concise website will provide a forum for students to negotiate prices and exchanges. However, there is no medium for students to pay one another or send books–that is up to the students themselves. That is a concrete problem with the exchange, but given that it’s merely a baby, perhaps with time we’ll see that inconvenience taken care of.
There is another conundrum as well–should the student government be supporting a public option in the textbook market? Some may see this as something the university or even just the free market should handle, especially since just last month the UPUA spent $4000 of our student fee money on advertising efforts alone. But the way I see it, the UPUA’s job is to make our college experience a better one. If the Book Exchange does that, then it’s fully in their realm of duties. What do you think?