(U-WIRE) ANN ARBOR, Mich. – In a time typically highlighted by complaints that it takes too much time and too much money, students purchasing books this semester have a new alternative to perennial favorite stores.
Cordx.com, a Web site run by students for students, promises to make book buying smooth and simple. University of Michigan sophomore Brett Baudinet said he saw the website, owned by his father Brian Baudinet, as an opportunity to assist students.
"Being a Michigan student myself, I too am getting stung by the massive cost of schoolbooks at the university," he said. "The site allows students to sell and buy their books directly with other students."
On Cordx.com, students search for a textbook to buy or post the name of a textbook they want to sell. The site offers books on subjects ranging from architecture design to geology and nursing. Plus, there is no waiting in line.
Students opting for more traditional purchasing formed a line that snaked in front of the Shaman Drum Bookshop on the first afternoon of classes. "It sucks ’cause it’s so cold out here," freshman Juby Chacko said, adding she did not know buying textbooks online was an option.
Later in the afternoon outside Michigan Book in Ann Arbor, seniors Rachel Horowitz and Kirt McKee insisted that they had no interest in buying books online. After spending 25 minutes in the bookstore, they said the process had been easy.
Despite some disinterest and lack of knowledge, the use of lesser-known online resources has increased on campus this year.
Molly Bloom, publicist for Shaman Drum, said she thinks the store’s website is not only a convenient way for students who don’t want to wait in line to buy books but also easier on store employees as well.
Students can search the website by department listing or by entering a class and class number. Christine Comer, store manager of Michigan Book and Supply, said she is wary of online book purchasing because not all books bought on the Internet can be returned to the store itself. "We also do not buy books online because we cannot evaluate the condition of the book. We do offer purchasing and reserving used books online, though."
Since October 2002, customers have been able to check store inventory stock for all Borders products at Borders.com. Mark Winn, inventory merchandizing supervisor for the Borders store in Ann Arbor, said he has noticed online purchases and reserves pick up since the change and predicts a continued rise. "Lots of people assume we always have the books they need," Winn said.
"Borders as a rule does not stock textbooks, but encourages students to go online," where 90 percent of the books in their inventory can be found, he said. Borders can also search for and order out of print books.
In addition to bookstore websites and Cordx.com, the recently launched MSA online book exchange called DogEars offers a helpful resource for students wishing to save, the site states. It also allows students to review professors and evaluate classes at the end of the semester.
Both DogEars and Cordx.com offer their services to other universities and colleges, and Baudinet said he wants to expand his site’s range. He added he hopes to find sponsors in Ann Arbor who wish to advertise on the site in order to keep it running for free.
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