Students can stop weighing down their backpacks with Packback

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Muhammed Rizvi

 

Everyone I know believes that the textbooks we use in college are expensive. It can’t be argued whether or not they are overpriced because they do, in fact, increase our intellect and give us great amounts of knowledge. Personally, I think the books we use should not cost as much as they do.

Sophomore Fiona Breyer said, “I always end up selling books for about quarter the price I paid for them, which means a lose a hefty amount of money.” Publishers keep updating editions and it’s extremely unfortunate for students that go to the bookstore with hopes to sell a book, only to find that the book is now worthless due to a change in edition.

This happens fairly often, and it is disappointing every time. Sometimes we purchase books that we barely use during the semester. Money is tight for most college students, and that extra few dollars makes a difference.

Before Packback Books, a site that rents out and sells textbooks, a select few retailers, including the Illinois Wesleyan University bookstore, held a strong monopoly over the market. Students were then forced to spend substantial amounts of their money on textbooks.

Packback Books is a start up company that wants to change the current situation in the textbook industry and hopes that the market will transition to one that is more convenient for young consumers. The founders of Packback received a considerable investment from Mark Cuban following their appearance on the television show “Shark Tank.”

The co-founder of Packback, Kasey Gandham told me he was inspired to start PackBack because “students blindly purchase textbooks without knowing whether they have made the right decision.” He says that he knew that there had to “be a better way” when it comes to the textbook market, and that students who “work part time and take out loans while facing the stress of school” deserve to have more affordable books. This is so they “do not drop an excess of 500 dollars on books every semester.”

Packback is a simple concept. Students can rent books digitally for five dollars a day. This is convenient because students do not utilize certain textbooks every day. In these cases it is a lot wiser to rent a book online, as this concept allows students to only pay for what the need and therefore save a good amount of money. The digital aspect of Packback also helps students carry fewer textbooks and travel lighter.

Packback also has a price comparison tool that allows students to compare what prices various retailers charge and make financially intelligent decisions. Gandham believes that this is what makes Packback phenomenal because not only do they hold their own affordable “digital inventory,” they also show all of the prices charged by market competitors.

Packback is, I believe, the future of the textbook industry. With cheaper prices, students can save money while receiving a quality education. They’ll be able to get better deals books that are not going to be used excessively over the semester and won’t have to worry about publishers coming up with new editions. Students will have the convenience of carrying fewer textbooks, and the price comparison tool will allow students to be more informed decisions.

Gandham says that “no matter what, we want to make sure we do what is best for the student” and hopefully that will “make students come to Packback whenever they think of books.”