USG may pilot program to make textbooks more affordable

The Undergraduate Student Government may pilot a program that would make textbooks more affordable for students (Nicholas Hampton/The Daily Campus)

The Undergraduate Student Government may pilot a program that would make textbooks more affordable for students (Nicholas Hampton/The Daily Campus)

The Undergraduate Student Government is considering piloting a program that would allow students to swap their old textbooks for books they need for the next semester, USG programs director Malu Foley said.

“It would be a one-to-one exchange out of the SOC (Student Organization Center),” Foley said. “Students would be able to come in, bring their textbooks, and exchange them for others.”

Foley said the USG sent out a poll to students asking if they’d be interested in such a program, and received enough responses to go forward with the plan.

“To ensure the success of the program, we would have to have a lot of students participate right from the get-go,” Foley said.

USG is considering giving gift cards or other compensation to the first students who bring their books in for the swap, when there aren’t any books for them to take in exchange, Foley said.

Foley said the USG hopes to start the program soon.

“Our goal, if everything works out, and if we have enough students who are willing to donate books, would be to roll it out at the end of this semester,” Foley said.

Frank Sternberg, a seventh-semester chemistry major, said he would be interested in a book swap program.

“For those classes that you’re really just taking to satisfy something like a gen-ed, you can save a lot of money,” Sternberg said. “Someone gets your book and you get theirs—it’s a win-win for everybody.”

Foley said the USG plans to work out a system of evaluating books to ensure that everybody gets a fair deal. One possibility is to offer swaps based on the amount of pages in the book, since larger books tend to be more expensive.

Sternberg said he wouldn’t mind exchanging a textbook for one of lesser value.

“If I drop $100 on a book and it gets me through a course, I don’t mind swapping it for a $50 book,” Sternberg said. “I mean, you already spent the money anyway.”

Foley said the idea for a textbook swap is new and still has some kinks that need to be worked out.

Some remaining questions include where to store books, what to do with unclaimed books and whether the program could run into legal troubles with textbook publishers, Foley said.

“We came up with it just this semester,” Foley said. “Right now it’s pretty much in the preliminary stages of development.”


Charlie Smart is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at charles.smart@uconn.edu.