Fighting high book prices online

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College is expensive. Plain and Simple. Any St. John’s student can tell you that there is a fee for everything. Tuition, meal plan, general fee and of course the recurring one, a book fee. At the St. John’s Bookstore, prices vary depending on the text book.

There are books that range from $4 to $150 and it is even more for law school books. Some students will see if they can rent the book they need for class, while others will look for their textbooks on websites like amazon.com or ebay.com.

“I used to [buy books on campus] but now I don’t unless they don’t sell it anywhere and need it urgently,” Cynthia Carranza, a junior, said. “Other than that, I just buy the books online or don’t buy them at all.”

However, hope is on the horizon at myBookcrate.com.

Founded in 2011 by 21-year old Pasadena native Erik Bogaard, myBookcrate.com is an online platform that allows college students to buy and sell their textbooks with other students on their own campus.

Their unique buyer seller interaction cuts out the middle man and allows students to meet in person whether it’s in a dorm room, a cafeteria or a certain meeting spot that only students would know about.

While there is a lot of skepticism when dealing with meeting another person you’ve only met online, but Bogaard says that the students’ safety is myBookcrate’s highest priority.

Students who sign up must either use their school e-mail or connect through Facebook to confirm their enrollment in the school. Students who wish to meet to exchange textbooks are automatically connected through the website without swapping personal information and they can agree to meet in a specific location.
The payment isn’t made in person but through the credit payment on the website when the order is confirmed.

“We notify the students when to meet up,” Bogaard said. “Set it up and forget it.”

According to an article on www.studentpirgs.com, “The average student spends about $900 per year on textbooks … textbook prices are rising at about four times the rate of inflation.”

“What drives me personally is a true desire to fix a broken market, Bogaard said. “Ultimately it needs to change.”

Bogaard, who graduated from Boston University and majored in economics, created the website in January 2011.  He assembled a team and pitched a prototype, which eventually took on a life to itself.

“MyBookcrate is fighting against a corporate entity, it takes a lot of patience,” he said

College students have little money to begin with and the extra cost of books can be overwhelming. St. John’s students agree that this website has potential to be a useful resource for students who are looking to buy and sell books at an affordable price.

“I would definitely be interested in a service like that,” Amy Rio, a senior, said.