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Web site offers students new alternative for textbooks

Jan. 21, 2004

By Amy Abbotts, reporter

As the new semester begins, most Baylor students have bought textbooks for their classes, and many students went to the Baylor Bookstore, Spirit Shop or Rother's Bookstore to buy their textbooks.

Jason LeFevers, a Plano senior, is frustrated with the money he lost from buying and selling at a bookstore.

'I bought the book for $136, used it for four months, sold it back to a bookstore and only got $33 in return,' LeFevers said. 'Then the store turned around and sold it for $96.'

Other students have resorted to online shopping as their purchasing preference for buying textbooks. Besides common sites such as amazon.com, students now have a local university Web site at their service.

On the sites, students can buy and sell new or used textbooks online rather than at the bookstores. The most common local Web sites are bearswap.com and bubooks.com.

Dustin Franz, a San Antonio junior and co-president of bubooks.com, said he developed his idea after receiving little to no money back from other bookstores his freshman year.

What began as an idea out of frustration became reality with the help of Jonny Dyer, his friend from Stanford University. Together, the two created bubooks.com where students can do business with other students to buy or sell their textbooks. Franz and Dyer are still the only two people who run the Web site.

'The first three to four months of the Web site consisted of only buying and selling textbooks,' Franz said. Later they added a professor rating section and the classified ads section. 'The professor rating section is and will always be free for students to use,' Franz said.

Franz estimates that a typical student can sell a book online for 50 percent of the price he or she originally paid for it.

'Sometimes students can get up to 75 percent back for a book,' Franz said. 'You just have to look around.'

Tim Cecil, a Mesquite junior, said he is impressed with the online sites.

'It puts you in contact with people who have the book and are selling it,' Cecil said. '[The books] take awhile to get, but it's pretty good.'

Despite the time element, Franz believes the trade-off is worth it.

'The time it takes to receive your books is longer, but you actually get to meet the student who took the class before you and possibly get class notes along with the book, tips on how to study for the class or even just a contact who has experienced taking the class before you,' Franz said.

As of this semester, Franz said his Web site has 2,199 registered users, 1,500 of which are active users.

Although he is happy with the success of his Web site, he hopes the number of users will continue to grow as more and more people become aware of the free resources the Web site offers.