Beating the Textbook Game

Getting the most for your money for old books

Everyone dreams of beating the system, but Erik Bogaard may have actually found a way to do it.

"Students are frustrated," said the 21-year old college student who has come up with a way for students to bypass the campus book store to sell their textbooks. 

"The student owns the book and has the right to the fair market value of the book," said Bogaard, who is currently on leave from Boston University to run his two-year-old website,

The idea is to help students meet up with other students on campus to buy and sell their textbooks.

Carolyne Chen is a student at UC San Diego and says she's tired of seeing the bookstore make so much off her used books.

"I paid the bookstore $120, they'll only buy it back for $50," said Chen.

So she tried, she found someone on campus selling a political science book she wanted and the website helped them arrange a meeting.

"I wanted a visible place on campus," said Chen.

She looked over the book and agreed to the price. But, instead of carrying around money, she paid for the book through the mybookcrate website.

"It's really powerful to be matched one minute and within the hour meet at a location," said founder Bogaard. "It is a matter of removing the shipping and handling costs as well as the wait time."

Bogaard says his website takes 10 percent of the purchase price.

But it allows students to buy books below bookstore prices and get much more money back for used textbooks.

Bogaard says campus bookstores often pay around 10 percent on average of the book's original value while students using his website make 78 percent. The students actually set the price when they list the book.

Students have used webites like Craigslist and eBay to sell used books but this allows them to have  a face to face transactions.

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