Image credit: Beth Canter

With the dramatic increase in social media popularity and usage by college students, many aspects of college life tie in to this form of communication. One of these aspects is the textbook-buying process. There are a few ways that both students and textbook stores can use social media to effectively reach potential buyers.

First off, college students can use social media platforms to sell their own textbooks directly to other students. According to AllFacebook.com data from 2011, more than 90 percent of college students are on Facebook and have, on average, several hundred friends on the site. In many cases, students have Facebook friends who attend the same school and are in similar majors or classes. Because of this, students basically have free access to a large network of individuals who might be interested in buying used textbooks. All it takes is for one student to post a status update with the name of the book they want to sell and an estimated price. They can also take a picture of the book and upload it so that others know exactly what it looks like. If someone is interested in the book, all they have to do is contact the seller, negotiate a price, and then set up a time to make the transaction.

Secondly, many textbook stores have social media pages, in addition to their regular websites. It can be much easier for the employees of these stories to jump on Facebook or Twitter and quickly post a message that will go out to all fans or followers of their page. This is a great way to promote a store in general. It is also an effective tool for spreading messages about upcoming events at stores, special offers,, and discounts. A coupon can easily be uploaded to one of these sites so that students can print it out and bring it to the store for a discount. In addition, students can easily post questions on these stores’ pages about whether or not they have certain textbooks in stock and how much they cost.

Finally, social media has been used as a tool to start up some unique initiatives at several colleges around the country. For example, BookBam is an online exchange site that is maintained through Facebook. BookBam encourages students at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia to sell their used books to other students by using the site. Students simply post information about their textbooks on the Facebook page. If a potential buyer sees the post, that individual will then have the ability to contact the seller to arrange a time and place for the transaction. This method is much easier than posting signs up on campus.