WEB EXCLUSIVE: Site offers textbook exchange

Johns Hopkins University graduate student Volvick Derose promises to save students hundreds of dollars on textbooks with a new Web site launched Jan. 31. The site offers students an opportunity to exchange books with other students without any fees or markups.

“We pay too much for textbooks,” said Derose, who is pursuing a degree in electrical engineering. “Through the Web site we’re just solving a problem.”

The site, www.cambire.com, has attracted 300 registered users since its unofficial start in mid-September and lists more than 200 books for sale.

“There aren’t that many people trading yet because they don’t know
about our service yet,” Derose said.

GW Bookstore officials said they aim to offer students services other than the site’s book exchange.

“There are no guarantees with something like that,” GW Bookstore Director Patricia Lee said. “There’s no recourse when classes are canceled or you change classes. You just can’t return the book then.”

Lee said the GW Bookstore, which offers more than 4,600 titles, offers a full-refund return policy and allows students to sell books back for up to 50 percent off the cover price in some cases.

The fair market value of the book determines the buyback price, Lee said.

“We don’t make the decision as to what price a used book is,” she said.

Students who sold their books back before winter break made much
more money than students who returned books after break because there was more of a demand for the books, Lee said.

Senior Karrene Turner said she thinks trading books online is a better idea than visiting the bookstore.

“I don’t sell books back (to the GW Bookstore),” she said. “When you pay $100 and only get $20 back, that’s not cool.”

Turner said she would use the cambire.com trading service.

“I think it’s better to buy books on the internet,” she said.

Senior Amy Howlett said she saved money by purchasing all her books online.

“Buying the same books at the bookstore would cost $400,” Howlett said. “Online, I paid $220.”

Sophomore Brooke Tate said she would think twice about using the service, which carries similar risks as online auction sites such as E-Bay.

“It sounds like a good idea but I might be leery to use it,” she said. Tate said there is no guarantee that when a customer sends a book to a “trader” the customer will receive one in return.

Sophomore Alann Goldstein said he was more concerned about convenience than security.

“It would probably be a little more difficult,” Goldstein said. “I’d be more likely to just walk into the bookstore.”

Derose said he had waited until January to officially open the site because he was, “busy with school and getting ready to graduate.”

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