The Appeal of Textbook Trading

The flurry and stress of semester classes underway, spurns and creates a significant spike in textbook purchases during the weeks preceding the first day of class. As classes are finalized, scheduled, and log-jammed into the college student’s new regiment, textbooks quickly become a hot commodity. With today’s college campus bookstores funneling the majority of the supply, it’s interesting to see another trend emerging from basic used-book purchasing: textbook trading.

Textbook trading has become an appealing trend through auction sites such as eBay, and comparison shopping sites such as Amazon.com and Froogle.com. However, today’s savvy college student can take part in a bevy of free membership-based sites that offer the art of the trade; many of these textbook trading memberships come with other perks. The benefit to the college student is not only the freedom to find the best price, but also the advantage of selling old textbooks and other used ‘stuff’ such as CDs to complete the trade. It’s a barter fit for the masses, and easier on the textbook budget for many of today’s students.

WhyBuy.com is one convenient one-stop online trading post that engages college students across the country to create their own trades. Simply ‘post’ items on the designated page, and offer it for sale. Complete the sale and receive the $$ for a textbook purchase of choice. It’s simple, fast, and convenient, and many college students can become campus agents to earn commissions on promoting the site itself.

School’s and campuses themselves have caught onto the textbook trader’s antics, by offering their own school-sponsored sites as a trading portal. Mt. Saint Vincent University introduced its Trading Post targeted for its hungry textbook users in January 2006. The rise in interaction online amongst current and prospective students further prompts many college bulletin boards to adapt to an online segment, offering an area for exchanges, bartering, and other school merchandise.

Swooks.com offers a unique proposition for textbook trading, originally starting out as SwitchTextbooks.com but evolving to a complete book trading outlet. Two college students began this site in 2005, and Swooks.com gives users a ‘points’ system to work with. Simply input the books available for trade, and each book is assigned a number; the total gives you the redemption value, that is applied to a new purchase. As a member, students can ‘reclaim their investment’ from prior purchases easily, and save many expenses.

And what happens to the traditional campus-based bookstores and other big-box bookstores? They are definitely in for some online competition, as many college students opt for the internet for a variety of purchasing needs. Textbook trading has the added advantage of nationwide selections at most sites, and options to recycle not only books but CDs, DVDs, and video games. Campus-based bookstores with ‘used’ options may give the benefit of the immediate purchase for the procrastinating student or late registrant, but most students can, and do, flex their trading muscles on many textbook trading sites.

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