Co-op hosts textbook garage sale

Beth McHenry

This week, Lawrence’s McCarthy House co-op launched their first campus-wide textbook garage sale. The primary purpose of the sale is to help students avoid mark-ups and profit margins they may encounter with bookstores or online vendors.
The sale, which takes place in Riverview Lounge, started Wednesday, Jan. 3, and Friday, Jan. 5.
Members of the Co-op House also hope to improve and encourage the process of students selling used textbooks directly to other students. Although Co-op members organize and run the book sale, the Co-op will not be receiving any cut of the sales – student sellers will receive the total amount for each book sold.
Furthermore, the sale provides students with one location in which to sell the books and one check for sold books as opposed to making students deal with each textbook individually.
According to organizer Julia Callander, the event was suggested as a possible service project for the Co-op in the fall. Many other campuses have student-organized sales of this nature, and Callander feels that it is great project for the Co-op “because it involves many of the core principles of Co-ops. When people pool their resources, and no one is looking for an extra profit, everyone can benefit.”
Organization of the sale naturally took time and effort. Sellers are required only to fill out contact information and specify a price when they submit books. The Co-op is responsible for organizing the books by course, displaying them and recording the profits that each seller earns.
In addition, the Co-op faced the challenge of organizing and advertising the event over winter break, a period when many students are not in tune with Lawrence events. However, with organization and the help of all Co-op members, the event has run smoothly so far.
Callander adds that the project is by no means intended to “put Conkey’s out of business . it’s important that we support independent bookstores in the age of Barnes and Nobles and Borders at every corner. We just want to provide a forum to make it easier for students to do what they are doing anyway.”
Although responses to the sale have been positive, Callander points out that “the project is only as successful as the amount of participation we get from the students.” This term’s sale is, in many ways, a test run. If the event is useful to students, the Co-op may decide to provide an ongoing service, organizing book sales throughout the year.
Although the project had a rocky start as of Wednesday afternoon, the sale was fairly successful. Not enough students had initially provided books to be sold, and student shoppers were largely unsuccessful.
However, Callander states that about 50 books were collected by lunchtime, and many of the Freshman Studies and introductory science texts were selling very quickly. She concludes, “I am very pleased by how the sale is going and glad that we can help the Lawrence community in this way.”
The textbook sale continues on Jan. 5 until 3 p.m. By then, the Co-op hopes to have an even greater selection to offer students.