IBX offers alternative for buying books

Drew Strellis, sophomore in Business, filters through the many shelves of books at the Illini Union Bookstore, Monday. With classes starting, the rush for books has started, leaving students to face long lines at the bookstores. IBX has presented a new wa Erica Magda

Drew Strellis, sophomore in Business, filters through the many shelves of books at the Illini Union Bookstore, Monday. With classes starting, the rush for books has started, leaving students to face long lines at the bookstores. IBX has presented a new wa Erica Magda

By Missy Smith

The first week of classes is the same every year; students come back from break refreshed and eager to fall back into their previous lifestyle.

They go to their first classes, ready to drop one if it seems too hard or uninteresting, and if they decide to stay in the class, they go to the three bookstores on campus to buy their books. Just yesterday there was a line out the door and down Sixth Street of students just waiting in the bitter cold to get into TIS Bookstore to buy overpriced used books for classes they will barely read for.

Still, every semester begins and ends the same, with students disappointed with the price they pay for their books and the low price they receive in return for selling the same books back just a few short months later.

This feeling of disappointment spurred the Technology and Management Club, a Registered Student Organization, to take action. Soon, the idea of a marketplace for students to meet other students and buy and sell their used textbooks became a reality.

Alumnus Vishesh Narayen, former president of the Technology and Management Club, researched the idea of creating an organized way for University students to buy and sell their books amongst themselves. Thus, the Illini Book Exchange, or IBX, was created.

“We started IBX because it occurred to us that students were paying far more at the bookstore than if they bought the same book from another student,” Narayen said. “The same when they were selling a book back to the bookstore. Students were getting far less money back than they would have if they could sell the books directly to other students.”

The IBX was created in 2002 and has been successfully allowing students to buy and sell their books in a controlled atmosphere. The Web site is even affiliated with the Illini Union Bookstore, which may come as a shock to some people, including Jonathon Childers, sophomore in Communications.

“This site is a better deal for everyone,” Childers said. “It gives the buyer a lower price than the used price of the bookstore, and it gives the seller a higher price than they will pay. I’m surprised that the Union Bookstore is sponsoring this Web site because it is undercutting their own profit.”

The Web site is designed as a forum that allows students to post their books and the prices they want for them. Unfortunately, some books are the older editions, so beware. If a book matches the ISBN number, it will say it is IBX approved.

Once the students find a book they need, all it takes is a click of the “I want this book” button, which then directs them to a place where they type where they would like to meet the other students to get the book.

Just like that they have a used textbook at a lower price than if they had bought it in the store or one of the many other options such as Amazon or eBay.

Buying books online has its problems, too.

Wrong editions or books can be purchased, making it a hassle to set things straight. Narayen prefers the use of IBX because it is more convenient.

“IBX is just as easy, if not easier to use than eBay, Half.com, or Amazon,” Narayen said. “Plus, there are no shipping charges or listing fees, so students end up pocketing more of their money rather than losing some to random fees.”

Chris McGarry, sophomore in AHS, feels it is easier to meet students from this University because there is no interim time, waiting for the book to ship and come in the mail.

McGarry has been using IBX since Fall 2007 because the bookstore was out of his book and ended up saving $30 by buying it from another student.

“With IBX, students win whether they are buying or selling,” McGarry said. “Last semester, I sold one book on IBX and got back more than I did my whole freshman year, not to mention the books that I have bought through IBX have been about half the price of those at the stores.”

Still, Childers realizes that while the IBX is the best option for students, not all will utilize this invaluable resource.

“There will always be some lazy people who just sell back for whatever they can get,” Childers said. “But if everyone did a little more work and posted their books on IBX, we’d all be getting a way better deal, and college would be that much cheaper.”