ASUC Bookswap Draws Hundreds of Students

Contact Sonja Sharp at [email protected]

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Spring semester's ASUC Bookswap started off with a bang Monday, with hundreds of students looking to buy and sell more than 1,000 books in the student government's effort to save students' cash.

The swap, started by ASUC President Misha Leybovich when he was a senator in spring 2003, has seen its popularity swell with changes created to ease the book-trading process.

"I've always had faith in the Bookswap, but I was really unprepared," Leybovich said. "Yesterday we had 10 times the number of books we've had in the past."

The swap, which has garnered increasing support from the ASUC bookstore, has increased its popularity from a mere 500 people in the first swap to hundreds more who swarmed tables in Sproul Plaza this week.

Senior Marisa Mochizuki, a veteran book swapper, stood in line yesterday to sell more than 20 books, for what she said are the best prices around.

"I try to sell every semester," Mochizuki said. "At the book stores, you only get 10 or maybe 15 percent. Here, you usually get 60 to 80 percent back for your books."

Leybovich attributes much of the swap's boom in popularity to a more convenient system of exchange.

Rather than having to contact other students individually through long lists, sellers can drop off their books and collect money later. Similarly, buyers can swap all their books at once, without having to go to buyers individually.

Leybovich said he was enthusiastic about a partnership with the ASUC bookstore, which provided materials and two employees to work the swap. When the Bookswap first debuted, the bookstore and ASUC were at odds rather than collaborators, Leybovich said.

But this year, ASUC bookstore Director Greg Kiryakakis said he hopes the cooperation will help mold a more positive image of the bookstore for students.

"We're trying to reach out to students with this book swap," Kiryakakis said. "We've not done a really good job with that in the past."

This semester, the bookstore has already bought back more books than it needs, Kiryakakis said, and the Bookswap has drawn more traffic into the bookstore, boosting sales for the ASUC.

"We feel it's a win-win situation," Kiryakakis said. "In the long run, we're here to serve the students."

As for the competition, Leybovich said despite Ned's Bookstore's reputation as the cheapest spot to buy books, the deals at Ned's aren't any better than at the campus store.

"There's just no benefit to shopping across the street," Leybovich said.

Employees at Ned's seemed unphased by the Bookswap, despite the recent boom in ASUC bookstore sales.

"We're really busy," said Ned's Manager Chris Weimer. "It doesn't seem to be affecting us."


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