ASUS launches textbook service

Program promotes financial accessibility, sustainability, and scam prevention

ASUS textbook service open for listing.
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ASUS launched its new textbook service in January. The service allows students to sell and drop off secondhand textbooks, with ASUS working as a “consignment” by taking five per cent of textbook sales commissions to cover transactional fees.

According to Melody Zhang, ASUS deputy services commissioner, students will fill out a form for any listing request.

“Basically, the conception behind this idea was we all had that experience with Facebook marketplace, where you’re trying desperately to find affordable options,” Zhang said in an interview with The Journal.

“There’s this demand for secondhand textbooks, and there’s this demand for [a] service where students are able to sell their secondhand textbooks.”

According to Guarav Kumar, ASUS textbook service director, textbooks are gradually being dropped off at the ASUS house. The service has been advertising online and will soon seek collaborations with other Department Student Councils.

Zhang hopes the new program will improve financial accessibility.

“It’s just ridiculous to pay $200 for an organic chemistry set that you’re going to use for one year and then discard,” Zhang said.

Zhang said the service also addresses sustainability, as there are many courses that still use physical paper textbooks.

“It’s not exactly recyclable in most circumstances.”

With a centralized service, Zhang also said the platform allows students to avoid purchasing deficient course materials, like those missing pages.

“There have been textbook scams in the past,” she said. “We want to provide a platform where students are able to list their textbooks for however much they want.”

“We just take a small percentage to cover transaction fees, but essentially, the student receives however much money they want.”

Zhang and Kumar hope the service expands to supply standardized test preparation books like those for the LSAT, MCAT, and GRE.

While there’s no restriction for students from other faculties to access the service, Zhang said the textbooks received are still mainly for Arts and Science courses.

“We have collected significantly more textbooks than we expected, so it’s possible there might be changes that are coming up to accommodate for that increase in inventory.”

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