Wesbooks Student Textbook Exchange a Success
Wesbooks, a book exchange platform for University students to buy and sell textbooks to their peers launched at the end of last semester and currently has 357 users, which means that one in eight students have partaken in the service. Creators Ali Chaudhry ’12, Brian Lau ’12, and Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) Academic Affairs Committee Chair Mari Jarris ’14 said that students have saved a total of over 1,500 dollars this semester thanks to the site.
“We are very pleased with Wesbook’s success so far,” Chaudhry said. “Everything ran as smoothly as we could have hoped and students saved a lot of money.”
Chaudhry and Lau began creating the site last spring after hearing about the success of similar student book exchanges at Yale University and Princeton University.
“We were unhappy purchasing books through Broad Street and Amazon,” Lau said. “Both organizations make a profit off students buying and renting textbooks. We wanted to design a program that would eliminate the middleman so students could save money.”
Over the summer Chaudhry and Lau hired a programmer to design and build the website. The pair then met with Jarris to review the book exchange platform. They submitted a policy proposal to the Student Budget Committee in early fall, and the group was granted 400 dollars to launch the site.
“A Wesleyan student should not have to spend 1,200 dollars a year on textbooks in addition to tuition,” Jarris said. “Wesbooks is user friendly and students are able to save 30 to 70 percent on books. The site is a clear gain to the student body.”
Student can use the site to advertise textbooks they wish to sell and to look for ones to purchase. When students are interested in a book, they negotiate a price with the seller and arrange to meet to pick up their books. Following its launch on Dec. 13, the site began attracting student users, the majority of whom are currently freshmen and sophomores, according to Chaudhry and Lau.
“We are excited about these statistics because they mean that over the next few years, members of these classes will continue to use the site and encourage their peers and incoming freshman to do the same,” Lau said.
In the upcoming months, Chaudhry and Lau, both of whom graduate in May, will transfer management of Wesbooks to the WSA.
“This will institutionalize Wesbooks so it will continue running and expanding after we graduate,” Chaudhry said.
Wesbooks is part of the same web server that hosts Prof-it, the University’s professor review website. The Academic Affairs Committee will elect a tech-savvy student to fill Chaudhry and Lau’s management positions, continue compiling data about the site, and ensure that it runs smoothly.
“This semester we will continue publicizing Wesbooks,” Jarris said. “We want to have as many books on the website as possible and are especially encouraging graduating seniors to donate texts.”
Students have reacted positively to the creation of Wesbooks.
“I used Wesbooks to buy my textbook for The Biology of Sex,” said Amelia Mettler ’15. “I spent 40 percent less than I would have had I bought the book new from Broad Street. I am pleased with my Wesbooks experience and hope the site continues to grow. It is a great resource for broke college students like me, and everyone else at Wesleyan.”