Friday, May 18, 2007

Buy and Sell Textbooks - Facebook Marketplace

I posted earlier about the Facebook Marketplace when it first came out. (Facebook Marketplace) I already have almost all of my textbooks for the summer semester and if I were to pay full price for the books I need this fall it would total approximately $680 or if I managed to get them all used from the bookstore around $500.

Obviously, that is more money than I would like to spend and I have already started working at chipping away that mountain of money.

Today I completed my first transaction using the marketplace. A few days ago I noticed the following ad:

$30 - Electrical Engineering: Principles and Applications

Condition: used

OK, let's see if selling books on facebook will work. This book was used in ECE 252, Intro to Electrical Engineering (for non-ECE majors).

It's in great condition and includes a CD with solutions to many of the problems.
As soon as I noticed it I messaged the person. Unlike ebay there is no way to complete the transaction online so everything is handled through Facebooks built in messaging service.

In a creepy, get kidnapped fashion, you have to meet in person to complete the deal once the terms have been decided on. However, this is where Facebook really puts this service over the top. I was able to instantly determine that I had four mutual friends with the person selling the book. I was also able to look at his profile (if his security settings would have normally not allowed me to see his profile, since we started a transaction, I get temporary access for a month to his profile and him to mine) and determine if the person seems reputable. Unlike craigslist, I was already networked with anyone who would be selling something. The aspect of anonymous profiles dissolves and is replaced with the Facebook network.

Was this person reliable? Guess what... he was! I have to admit the price on the book was great! This book would run about $90 used from the book store. I saved about $60 through the marketplace (maybe I should treat myself to something worth $60?). I now have in my possession $30 less and 1 textbook more.

Overall I am impressed with my success on my first try. However, I have noticed people are posting items on the marketplace at VERY high prices. There are quite a few people selling books at identical prices as the bookstore. I really think people should be using this service to help fellow students and not become an additional place to buy overpriced used books. I've also noticed the service has not taken off as fast as I would have expected, but since it is the summer semester it is understandable.

I think I am going to keep an eye out for other textbooks I need and if I don't sell the books I still need to get rid of to my friends, I'll post them on the marketplace.

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