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USF students start Text Exchange

A new website created by USF students aims to “cut out the middleman” when buying or selling textbooks.

Text Exchange, which was launched at the end of July, allows students to list their used textbooks so other students on the website can buy them directly.

Toby Thomson, a junior majoring in biology and co-creator of Text Exchange, said places like the USF Bookstore were among the middlemen that Text Exchange was made to supersede.

“I want communication between students,” he said. “It would be better to buy the book (for) $75 than the hundred spent buying it back from a store.”

According to its website, allows students to list a description of a textbook and the course it’s for. Students can list their phone numbers and email addresses so buyers can meet with the sellers directly.

Ken Costa, a senior majoring in biomedical and political science and the website’s co-creator, said students can pitch their own prices for the textbooks.

“We don’t make any money on the website now,” he said. “In the future, we intend to keep it without fees.”

Costa said the Text Exchange website is unique.

“(Amazon and Craigslist) are good websites and excellent resources, and I encourage students to use those websites,” he said. “But we’re giving them other options.”

Thomson said he contacted Costa in early June, when he thought of the idea for the website.

“The difference here is the price,” Costa said. “You’ll save money, and people are looking for ways to save money and ways to keep their options open.”

Darin Cowels, a sophomore majoring in mass communications, said he would be interested in experimenting with the website.

“It could be the next new wave ordering textbooks, and you get to meet people who bought it before you,” he said. “It’s better than going in blind to a store. I think this is the site to look out for.”