Colgate Exchange Is A Good Alternative To the Pricey Bookstore

During my opening semester at Colgate I was fortunate to participate in many of the long-held traditions that make this school unique. For starters I spent a few hookup-less nights at the jug (a streak sure to continue after this gets published), watched the Raiders football team pummel the Patriot League competition, and endured the below zero temperatures of Hamilton. I also had the unfortunate experience of being tooled by the Bookstore Buyback system. After my last final of the semester I headed downtown eager to fatten my rapidly slimming wallet with bills in return for my now useless books. After I plopped down more than $400 on my textbooks I expected quite a hefty return on my investment (so much so I even snuck in a few old books from home, thinking I was beating the system). Boy was I wrong! After staring at the measly $80 and some odd cents resting in my hand I realized the joke was on me.As a na??ve freshman I depended upon the enlightened ways of upperclassmen to guide me. However, walking up the stairs I spotted a number of these supposed role models walking like blind dogs toward a destiny of financial ruin. These same students are supposed to be the best and the brightest (although I have met many who rarely exhibit these traits) and consistently make informed decisions. Therefore I concluded there had to be more obvious reasons at work for this blatant stupidity. I believe that the lure of cash, time and convenience tricks them into a lifetime (or at least four years) of getting continually ripped off. After further review it is obvious that none of these aspects are legitimate for losing money. First and foremost, the idea of receiving cash for books appears better on paper than in reality. After spending more than $400 on books, a 20% return on my investment is nothing to get excited about. This implies that inflation on books parallels to the inflation of the 1980’s. I can’t understand how after using a book for four months, it loses 80% of its value. It would be appropriate for students to use this system if there were no alternatives, however right in front of our faces is a perfectly constructed website that was solely created to elicit cooperative bargaining between Colgate students. We should be grateful to the diligent workers who have created the Colgate Book Exchange. Also, the belief that the book exchange saves time is completely ridiculous. After spending nearly a half hour on the line I realized how valuable my time was. I understand that the book-trading program is open for five days (beginning Monday of finals week), but if my last final is on Friday then I’m forced to take multiple trips to the bookstore. Therefore, my only option was to wait a half hour in line Friday afternoon. Finally, the most outrageous student excuse is convenience. Personally, trucking 60 lbs. of books down to the bookstore on the Colgate Cruiser is not what I consider convenient. In addition, the bookstore was only able to accept little more than half of my books and I was forced to stand outside in the freezing weather waiting to lunge a heavy backpack of my shoulder for another trip up the hill.After disproving these futile excuses I propose a radical solution to eradicate the blatant rip-off tactics of the buyback system. Thanks to the pioneering actions of fellow students we finally have the power to fight the system. The Colgate Book Exchange offers students all the opportunities of the book exchange but in the convenience of your own home. Students should be down on their knees praising these students for making their lives easier. The premise is easy: allow students to negotiate with each other, cutting out the middle man (the bookstore). I may have screwed up my Introduction to Economics class but I did learn one important thing-that there is market failure when market equilibrium is out of balance. In this situation there is high demand for cheap books, but limited suppliers. However this figure is distorted because at the moment the only suppliers are the bookstore. Look at it this way, when you get ripped off and receive $30 for the book you bought for $120 you are losing $90. When the kid buys the book from the bookstore for $100 there is another market failure. If those two kids lose the bookstore as an intermediary and one student sells the books to the other for $60, the seller gains an extra $30 and the buyer gets $40. Together the kids are beating the market by more than $70. Simple math, and it may look small, but as the amount of students using the system increases so do the savings. Another important aspect is (I would be able to tell you if I did not get swindled out of my Economics text book) something which I believe is called Network Externalities. Like with a cell phone company, the more people who take advantage of the network the more valuable the service becomes. Therefore, the value of the Colgate Book Exchange depends on the willingness of the students to participate in this new venue.I realize that most of the students at Colgate are economically well off, but I assure you, that on the other hand there are many students just getting by on a Ramen Diet and those 20 bucks they save on books may make the difference between a good year and a great year. So if you feel it’s not worth the effort to sell them online, think of your fellow Colgate student struggling to get by. I implore each of you to overcome your own selfishness and join the Colgate Book Exchange. It only takes a few minutes and who knows, a few years from now you may have saved enough money to buy a new Manolo Blahniks. I am a member of the site, and I promise that for this semester I intend to buy as many books as possible on the Colgate Book Exchange. This could save students thousands of dollars; let’s make this a success. The power is in your hands; let’s show the bookstore that we will not get taken advantage of. We are not stupid! Let’s show it.