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EDITORIAL

Selling books back to the Bookstore may soon become easier – but getting there won’t be easy.

After discussions with Grace McQueen, the store manager of the USF Tampa Bookstore, Student Government’s Executive Office of the President identified some problems with the current buyback system. The Office outlined those issues and are “present(ing) the faculty with (them) so that an amicable solution may be reached” on Wednesday.

As stated in the proposal, faculty members don’t always know what classes they’ll be teaching in upcoming semesters. The Bookstore, however, won’t “buy back” a book unless it knows it will be able to sell it. Not only is the Bookstore declining to purchase books it may have been able to sell, but students miss out too: If the Bookstore won’t buy books, there will be fewer used books for sale.

And that’s just for the existing faculty. When new faculty members and classes are added, it gets more complicated. Classes proposed by new (and existing) faculty may be canceled due to lack of student interest, which diminishes the need for certain books. New faculty may lack awareness of the need to communicate with the Bookstore, putting it at a disadvantage when it comes to anticipating the needs of students. Also, various colleges promote non-campus bookstores – which don’t pay the University a percentage of their sales, and whose books may or may not be bought back by the campus Bookstore.

There are a lot of benefits to the campus Bookstore, not the least of which is the money the University receives from it. However, until the Bookstore and the University can work out a solution to the low prices paid to students for their used books, as well as the lack of availability of used books in the Bookstore, students will still want – perhaps even need – money from their used books. The Internet would be the first place to look.

Amazon.com and eBay-owned Half.com both offer services that allow patrons to both sell their used books – regardless of condition, edition and USF’s need for them – as well as buy used books from others. While they are usually far cheaper, shipping time can be a factor.

It would be better for the University and its Bookstore to work out a solution to the book buyback program, and it is praiseworthy that SG has begun addressing this issue. USF, after all, does not get a percentage of sales from either Amazon.com or Half.com, so minimizing students’ need for services those Web sites provide is clearly in the University’s interests.