The San Francisco State University Exchange can be a more cost-efficient way to buy and sell books but members of the student organization say that many students have yet to take advantage of it.
The SFSU Exchange is a Web site (www.sfsuexchange.com) that was created three years ago by former SF State business graduate student Kirk Lawrence. It is now a registered student organization whose main goal is providing students with the most effective methods of buying and selling textbooks.
“The bookstore only gives (students) about 40 percent of the original cost of the book,” said Sasha Mircov, a business graduate student and former president of the SFSU Exchange.
Wendy Johnson, the bookstores text book department manager, responded that students can get up to 50 percent for books that are needed for next semester classes.
“The percentage that students get for other books varies depending on the demand,” said Johnson.
Mircov said that through the Web site, students would still get 30 to 40 percent more money than they would be receiving from the book store.
On the Web site students are able to search for textbooks and post their own listings. Once students buy or sell a book through the site, SFSU Exchange is out of the picture and it is up to the students to get together and follow through with the transaction.
Despite the fact that students can find themselves with more cash in their pockets by using SFSU Exchange, only 2,000 of SF State's roughly 30,000 students have registered with the site. Members of the organization said that this is because the Web site has never been well promoted, due to a lack of funds.
"The organization receives some money from Associated Students, Inc (ASI) and from voluntary service fees,” said SFSU Exchange member Bettina Reiter. “Students are asked to pay voluntary fees via a check or through PayPal. The voluntary fees never exceed $4.99 for sellers and there is a set price of 99 cents for buyers but the program has been losing money because students hardly ever pay the fees.”
To spread awareness of the program the SFSU Exchange will host an end-of-semester party from 12:00 p.m. to 2 p.m. in the Malcolm X Plaza on Dec. 8. According to a press release from the organization the event "will be the finale of a semester-long campaign to promote the use of (the) Web site, and will allow students to investigate their options for buying an selling their text book.”
“We have been planning this party since the beginning of the semester,” said Reiter. “We are going to have tables with laptops so that students can register to the Web site as well as live music, games and a raffle.”
There will be a $200 cash prize for the winner of the raffle and the winners of the games will be rewarded $20 gift certificates. For a chance to win the raffle, students must register on the Web site before Dec. 8.
Reiter said that if students register before February of next year, they will not be sent invoices requesting voluntary fees.
ASI is also starting a student book program of their own that is set to launch next semester.
“It will be a book loan service for all students especially low-income students,” said Mario Flores, the ASI director of Project Connect. “I am going to find out more on the Book Exchange program and if I see that it caters to all students and that it’s well managed, I will definitely be interested in creating a sort of partnership.”