Students take to social media for textbook purchases

Hoping to bring in a little more cash, students are finding different ways to sell their used textbooks. (Hania Ahmed /Ryersonian Staff)

Hoping to bring in a little more cash, students are finding different ways to sell their used textbooks. (Hania Ahmed /Ryersonian Staff)

The beginning of the year means paying for tuition, transit and on top of it all, expensive textbooks.

While students will encounter long lines at the campus and used bookstores, some are finding textbooks through different means. Facebook groups, Reddit threads and websites are growing in popularity as a way for students to buy and sell textbooks.

“We are going into the biggest debt of our lives, I’m not going to buy a book at full price that will be used for a couple of months when I could get it for 50 to 80 per cent cheaper,” said Dani Dorfman, a first-year business management student.  

The Facebook group “Used Ryerson Textbooks For Sale” has more than 11,000 members, while sites like Tusbe (Toronto University Students’ Book Exchange) has more than 76,000 textbook ads. Buying textbooks from these groups is a way to get around the campus bookstore’s higher prices.

I’d have to sell my kidneys to afford things from the bookstore,” said Abhijeet Aryal, a first-year engineering student.

The Ryerson Students’ Union’s Used Book Room, located in the Student Campus Centre, takes a 25 per cent cut off the top of every book they sell. The Used Book Room also sets a maximum price at which students can sell their books.

Martin Oligane, a second-year biomedical engineering student, prefers to sell over Facebook.

“I like to handle those sorts of things on my own accord because I can dictate the price I want to sell it for and negotiate with the buyer myself,” he said.

Any textbooks left in the Used Book Room for more than 14 months are donated to a non-profit organization in Toronto, and cheques expire if they’re not picked up within a year, with funds going back to the store.

But selling online can be frustrating, some members of Ryerson’s textbook Facebook group told a Ryersonian reporter. Third-year business management student Presley Nakatsu finds that meeting with a seller can be difficult due to class schedules, and sometimes deals fall through unexpectedly, leaving her frustrated.  

The Used Book Room is convenient, but the selection is limited. At the time of publication, the search tool on the Used Book Room’s website is broken, meaning students can’t confirm that the books they want are in store.

Other students told The Ryersonian that books they need are sold out at the campus bookstore.

Even with all the setbacks, Ryerson students are still turning to online paths to sell their textbooks. In the end, a few extra dollars can make a lot of difference.

Want to know where to get your textbooks? Check out some of your options.

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