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Buyback program not one for the books

Cody Cousino / Photo editor

Low popularity and technical problems for Undergraduate Student Government’s Buckeye Bookswap left about 450 books unsold after the program concluded last week.

Still, USG President Nick Messenger called the program, which aimed to give students a forum to sell books directly to one another, cutting out any bookstore upcharge, a success.

USG director of academic affairs Sean Fitzpatrick said they collected about 500 books at the end of Winter Quarter, but only sold about 10 percent of them.

The books were only collected during finals week of Winter Quarter, but some students misunderstood and were upset when they tried to sell their books last week and were turned away.

“I didn’t hear about the program … I got no emails about it,” said Sahra Abdul, a third-year in pre-nursing, who was disappointed when USG wouldn’t accept her books at their table in the Ohio Union last week. “They should accept books later than the first week of the quarter.”

Messenger said that in the future, “one of the things we can focus on is a way to continue the collection of books after that first week.”

Aside from people who were unable to sell the books they had from Winter Quarter, Messenger said he received encouraging student feedback on the program.

“Everyone who used it was extremely positive,” Messenger said. “The next step is how we turn that into a wider thing.”

Messenger said the most popular books sold were for large general education curriculum classes such as chemistry, biology and economics, a pattern he expected before the program began.

“A lot of GEC books are more expensive. Students want to get them for as little as possible,” Messenger said.

The book collection took place outside the William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library and inside the Ohio Union. The books were resold after spring break in the Ohio Union only.

Despite the convenient ability to buy textbooks without leaving campus, some students said they still preferred to buy their books by other means.

“I prefer ordering off Amazon,” said Hannah Wilkes, a first-year in international business, “Amazon is easier because I don’t have to go compare prices.”

Wilkes said she used Buckeye Bookswap this quarter as a “last resort,” needing her books sooner than Amazon would be able to deliver them.

USG encourages students who didn’t look into the program this quarter to use it in the future.

“The demand for buying books is always going to be there. We had people buy books at Barnes & Noble and after seeing our prices, returned their books,” Fitzpatrick said.

While Messenger called the Bookswap a success, he said there were a few bumps along the way.

“We had to adjust a little bit. The TextYard service crashed halfway through, but we had a backup so we didn’t miss a beat,” he said.

TextYard was the website where students could view which books were available through USG.

Fortunately for USG, the issue was resolved over break, but Messenger said that “in the future, we will probably use our own internal system.”

Aside from increasing the length of time students have to sell their books, Messenger said he would like to see a feature that allows students to put a hold on textbooks after they view them online, so students “don’t have to just hope it’s still there” when they go to buy their textbooks.

With USG elections next week, the current administration will be leaving office soon, but they hope this won’t mean the end of Buckeye Bookswap.

“We’re really hoping the next administration picks it up,” Fitzpatrick said.

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