Colgate Book Exchange

John KellyMaroon News Article 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 article, 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 four hundred dollars on my textbooks I expected quite a hefty return on my investment. 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 eighty dollars and some odd cents resting in my hand I realized the joke was on me. As a na??ve freshman I depended upon the almost always 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 towards a path 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 being 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 looks better on paper than in reality. After spending more than four hundred dollars 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 by using the book for four months it has lost 80% of its value. Students using this system would be appropriate if there were no alternatives, however rights in front of our faces is 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 the five days, however if my last final is on Friday I do not want to take multiple trips to the bookstore. Therefore, my only option was to wait a half hour in line. Finally, the most outrageous student excuse is convenience. Personally, trucking sixty pounds 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. Have students negotiate with each other. I may have screwed up my Introduction to Economics class but I did learn one important thing that there is market failure when the 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 book store. Look at it this way, when you get ripped off and receive thirty dollars for the book you bought for one hundred and twenty you are losing ninety bucks. When the kid buys the book from the bookstore for one hundred dollars there is another market failure. If those two kids lose the bookstore as an intermediary and sell the books to each other for sixty dollars, the seller gains thirty extra dollars and the buyer gets forty dollars. Together the kids are beating the market by more than seventy dollars. Simple math and it make look small, but with more and more students it begins to add up. Another important aspect is (I would be able to tell you if I did not get swindled out of my Economics text book) something I think is called network externalities. Like with a cell phone company, the more people who take advantage of the network the more valuable the service. 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 here are economically well off but I assure you there are many students getting by on a Ramen Diet and those twenty bucks they save may make the difference between a good year and a great year. So, for all you people who say it’s not worth the effort think of your fellow Colgate student struggling to get by. Therefore, 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 and let’s show these book sellers that we will not get taken advantage of. We are not stupid! Let’s show it.