Do you spend a fortune on new textbooks every school term?
Fret not, because a solution has been found. If you live in Singapore, a number of textbook exchange websites have been created in the past few years, targeting people who wish to buy or sell used textbooks. These websites could easily be found through a Google search for the term “used textbooks in Singapore”. The process is simple. If you are a seller, all you need to do is to create an account, and then list your textbooks. You may even choose whether to disclose or hide your personal information, as the websites have email forms for buyers to contact sellers. If you are a buyer, the websites have internal search engines to search their databases for the book you want. You may then click on “more information” to reveal the sellers’ contact details.
Notably, there have been attempts to solve this problem in the past. However, they have been mostly ineffective and inefficient. For example, the National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore’s largest university by enrollment, has its intranet portal called the “Integrated Virtual Learning Environment”. Amongst other uses, this portal has a used textbooks forum where students may buy or sell used textbooks. However, this system has its drawbacks. Firstly, it is restricted to students and staff of NUS, hence having a rather limited reach. Besides, users will have to search the entire forum’s entries in order to find the textbook that they need to buy or sell.
Other universities and colleges are known to have similar systems too. There are even online forums whereby users have to read through the entries in order to find what they need. Furthermore, some institutions organise “used textbook exchange days” whereby students with used textbooks are encouraged to deposit them at booths for potential buyers to browse through.
Needless to say, such systems are highly time-consuming. Singapore’s textbook exchange websites have managed to circumvent such limitations through the use of simple databases, whereby only sellers post information on their books. Buyers who use the sites’ search engines will know at a glance if the textbook they are searching for is listed in the database or not. Some websites may even include a chat board for greater interaction between users. Moreover, the websites do not restrict the type of textbooks that can be listed, provided they comply with local laws.
If you live in Singapore and wish to begin buying or selling used textbooks, the first step is to visit a textbook exchange website and create an account.