Trading system to eliminate book costs

Written by beaconnewspaper

TEXTBOOK CHAT: Will DeSantis (background), founder of, discusses his company’s program with students at the UP Food Court. ALEX HERNANDEZ/THE BEACON

Beginning Dec. 27, students may never have to stand in line at the bookstore again. A new online company, www., is launching a website which will allow students to exchange books through a network instead of buying them from a bookstore. The only thing students pay

for is shipping and a $19.95 annual fee. The idea began when Will DeSantis and co-founder Patrick Nagle were standing in line at a bookstore. Like many students before them, DeSantis and Nagle were hesitant to receive little money for their expensive textbooks by selling them back to a bookstore.

When they noticed the customer in front of them had the books they needed, and vice versa, they simply traded. The website blossomed from there. Students can try the website for free. By filling out a profile and giving their email, they can be notified the moment a match is found for their book. They can look up the book they need by ISBN number, or by keyword. If a match is found, the students use their credits from previous trades to order their books.

Credits are gained and lost depending on whether a student sends or receives a book. No money is exchanged through the system. Students can also receive a $5 credit for each friend they recruit to the website, which they receive as a check at the end of the month. Books are graded on a sevendegree system, ranging from brand new to poor.

DeSantis and Nagle are working with the Baker and Taylor Corporation to ensure that the correct market value is given to each book. “We’ve created a multi-tear trading platform,” said DeSantis. “A trades with C, C trades with B and B trades with A. What that ensures is that we all trade to keep the cycle flowing. In essence, we are maximizing the value of your book.”

DeSantis and Nagle agree that textbooks have become unaffordable for students. They claim their website will eliminate the middle man. “Too much money is being made through school stores,” said DeSantis. “What we’re trying to do is help students network and save them as much money as possible because tuition is going through the roof.

We never want the students to feel like we’re taking anything from them. We’re setting up this system to make it as big as possible and to help college kids.” The website is being promoted at 4,000 colleges nationwide and will reach an estimated 9-13 million college students by 2006.

DeSantis and Nagle are also working on a system where teachers can post the books they will use in their classes. “Basically,” said Nagle, “bookstores make too much money off [the student]. We know what it’s like to sell a book back for $10 and then come back to the bookstore and see it on the shelf for 75 dollars.

They are taking advantage of you.” Needless to say, the bookstore is not taking the competition lightly. “I’m sure it will make us more competitive,” said Chris Quaintance, the University Park bookstore operations manager. “But once [students] have exhausted other sources, they come home.” Neither of the FIU Barnes and Noble bookstore managers seem too distraught about the project, claiming to know that private deals happen around them all the time. “What most people don’t know,” said Quaintance, “is that 10 percent of our profit goes back to FIU.

How much of their profit will you [the student] benefit from? I don’t think the bookstore will suffer that much. There is always hesitation when a student is asked to take a risk without any return.”



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