You’re broke, so that must mean it’s the beginning of the spring semester. While you may have scored some cool gifts over break, you also lost a couple bucks buying useless gifts like Now That’s What I Call Music! 17 for your grandmother. The last thing you need is to spend another $300 on textbooks for the upcoming semester, especially if you don’t plan on reading them.
According to the Association of American Publishers, the average price of a college textbook is $61. Between the five classes you’re taking and the seven books you need to buy, that can run anywhere from $300 to $500 per semester.
Unfortunately, textbooks are required in most classes, so you’re left with two options. You can order books online, which usually means a three-week delay and pricey shipping charges, or you can go to the school’s bookstore. The bookstore is never a good experience because the lines are long, the aisles are crowded and you’re likely to run into big-eyed miniature people also known as freshmen.
For those of you who want to avoid that, there is a new option. STUZO.com, a Temple student-run Web site, is an online community that allows students to buy and sell products online. On STUZO, students can post the books they want to sell and other Temple students purchase them. Unlike Half.com or other popular trading sites, students can meet on campus or around Philadelphia to trade their items, thus negating the cost of shipping fees while also expediting the process. It costs the seller nothing to post sale items and about $3 to $5 when students opt to purchase by credit card. That’s nearly half of what Web sites like eBay.com charge to process credit card fees and all you need is a college e-mail address.
When I first checked out the site, I found a project still immature in its development. The book selection wasn’t very large, and the listings were disorganized. After talking to front man Gunter Pfau, a senior business major at Temple, however, I realized the company’s intentions were good.
The goal of the organization is to have students help students. The eclectic mix of staff members that represent STUZO do not profit monetarily from the Web site. They say the idea stemmed from a frustration of large corporations taking advantage of college students who are obligated to pay ridiculous amounts of money for education. For now the company’s services extend only to Temple students, selling books as a jumping off point. But if the site expands, students will be able to use this resource to their advantage, buying anything from DVDs to furniture.
This is why it’s important that we add our contribution. While I’m not trying to run an ad here, I do believe the success of this site can be a good opportunity for all Temple students. Thefacebook.com, a Web site dedicated to connecting college students through the net, blew up at Harvard University and spread like wildfire to most other colleges. Like Thefacebook, STUZO.com seems like a positive, pragmatic idea; for it helps interconnect students through the use of a medium all college kids have access to.
The site has the potential of expanding to infinite proportions, but only if it finds success at Temple first. Eventually, the company hopes to increase its services across the nation.
In the meantime, the Web site will continue to represent a company run by the students, for the students. So, if by chance anyone is selling an “Introduction to Public Relations” book, help me out and sell it on STUZO.com. I was supposed to read it this weekend but I didn’t have the $120 to pay for it.
Eva Liao can be reached at email@example.com.