The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Student-lead textbook exchange provides cheap alternative to bookstore prices

2 min read


At the beginning of every semester there is a race to the campus bookstore; who can get the used books first?

With the high price of textbooks, many students simply cannot afford to buy their books new from the bookstore. Often, students resort to alternative methods of harvesting these necessary school supplies.

“I usually go to the bookstore to see what their prices are, and if it’s something outrageous I go to Amazon. In the end I end up buying 50 percent of my books from the bookstore, but only because its convenient,” said senior Kathleen Morgan.

The Legislative Action Committee (LAC) has recently created an online forum allowing students to post classifieds asking for books they may need or are trying to sell.

Junior William Spaulding, the initiator for the UMW textbook exchange, developed the idea after attending a Virginia 21 meeting.

“Virginia 21 is a Political Action Committee that works to voice the concerns of young voters throughout the state of Virginia, in most cases meaning college students,” said Spaulding. “At the meeting, students from other schools such as VCU and JMU spoke about textbook swap groups they had created and how successful they were, so I decided to bring the idea to UMW’s LAC.”

The textbook exchange operates through a Facebook group. Group administrators approve membership, and, after approval is granted, members receive Facebook and email notifications when books are posted for trade.

Spaulding likes to think of it as a simplified Craigslist, which enables students to trade books, or sell the books at what they think is a more reasonable cost.

Sophomore Marissa Yoder joined the Facebook textbook exchange to try to find good deals on her books and to assist others looking for the same thing.

“I joined because I thought it was a great idea and a convenient and cheap way to get the books I need. It’s also a convenient way to get rid of my books and help others out,” said Yoder.