Students Trade Books for Holiday Gifts on the Internet

December 12, 2002

What do college textbooks have to do with a holiday sweater for Mom or those boots Dad always wanted for his hiking trips? According to Akademos, Inc, proprietor of the popular website and one of the leading providers of educational resources on the Internet, the relationship is actually quite straightforward.

“Typically, students just let their books collect dust or sell them back to the campus bookstore at big losses,” said Akademos President Brian Jacobs, who recently launched the “eXchange” program, an online marketplace where students can sell unwanted books. “What many don’t realize is that they are sitting on lots of ready cash that could ease their shipping expenses during the holiday season.”

As the semester winds down, students can sell their books on such online marketplaces for significant profits once they have completed a course. A sample of books sold on the eXchange during the past month show students garnering an average of more than $26 over the college bookstore buyback price. “Students and other sellers are routinely earning more than twice the campus bookstore price by selling direct on the eXchange,” said Jacobs. “This clearly means a lot to students who spend an average of $300 each semester on course books—many of which remain in almost-new condition three months later.”

In addition to textbooks, the eXchange currently lists tens of thousands of titles of popular reading books, some of which sell for 80% less than their original retail price. “It’s a great source not only for cashing in unwanted books but also for purchasing holiday gifts at extremely low prices,” said Jacobs.

To create their live inventory, individuals simply list their books on the marketplace at a price of their choosing according to the condition of the book. Sellers are offered specific information to help them gauge competitive prices for their books. Buyers, in turn, can choose to purchase eXchange books and retail books in any combination on the website, all in one transaction and with the confidence that Akademos is acting as an agent on all eXchange sales.

“The eXchange is getting us closer to that equilibrium point, where both parties share equally in the benefits,” said Jacobs. “The sellers maximize their earnings while the buyers minimize their costs. A textbook marketplace like the eXchange is a truly remarkable new force in reducing the financial strain on students around the country.”

The eXchange is the latest in a series of new programs that Akademos, Inc. is developing specifically to help traditional and non-traditional students meet their needs for course materials in the most economical way possible. The company expects to continue rolling out innovative programs in the future to accomplish those goals.

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Akademos, Inc. was founded in April 1999 by Brian Jacobs, Ph.D., who was then teaching at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Its mission is to use new distribution models and media to democratize and enhance opportunities for students in higher education.