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University Textbook Exchange Software

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the cut-out-the-middleman dept.

Books 324

PageMap writes "With the textbook-buying season upon us, many universities and student organizations are attempting to combat the on-campus bookstore's overcharging by starting up their own grassroots book exchange efforts. The problem is the seeming lack of available web-based software to facilitate an efficient book exchange. Is there such a thing as free web-based software made for this type of use?"

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GNAA Announces acquisition of SCO (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6842833)

GNAA Announces acquisition of SCO
By Tim Copperfield
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macewan, on linuxquestions [] said "Thanks for that link to the SCO quotes page. My guess is that they want to be bought out. Hrm, think they want GNAA to buy them??"

After careful consideration and debate, GNAA board of directors agreed to purchase 6,426,600 preferred shares and 113,102 common shares (the equivalent of 150,803 ADSs) of SCO, for an aggregate consideration of approximately US$26.9 million and approximately $40 million for gay niggers that were working in Lindon, Utah offices of The SCO Group.

If all goes well, the final decision is to be expected shortly, followed by transfer of most SCO niggers from their Lindon, UT offices to the GNAA Headquarters in New York.

About GNAA
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If you are having trouble locating #GNAA, the official GAY NIGGER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA irc channel, you might be on a wrong irc network. The correct network is EFNet, and you can connect to or as one of the EFNet servers.
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About SCO
The SCO Group [SCOX [] ] helps millions of gay niggers in more than 82 countries around the world grow their penises everyday. Headquartered in Lindon, Utah, SCO has a network of more than 11,000 nigger resellers and 8,000 developers. SCO Global Services provides reliable nigger support and services to prospective members and customers.
SCO and the associated SCO logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of The SCO Group, Inc. in the U.S. and other countries. UNIX and UnixWare are registered trademarks of The Open Group in the United States and other countries. All other brand or product names are or may be trademarks of their respective owners.

This news release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions. All statements other than statements of historical fact are statements that could be deemed forward-looking statements. These statements are based on management's current expectations and are subject to uncertainty and changes in circumstances. Actual results may vary materially from the expectations contained herein. The forward-looking statements contained herein include statements about the consummation of the transaction with SCO and benefits of the pending transaction with SCO. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described herein include the inability to obtain regulatory approvals and the inability to successfully integrate the SCO business. GNAA is under no obligation to (and expressly disclaims any such obligation to) update or alter its forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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| ______________________________________._a,____ |
| _______a_._______a_______aj#0s_____aWY!400.___ |
| __ad#7!!*P____a.d#0a____#!-_#0i___.#!__W#0#___ |
| _j#'_.00#,___4#dP_"#,__j#,__0#Wi___*00P!_"#L,_ |
| _"#ga#9!01___"#01__40,_"4Lj#!_4#g_________"01_ |
| ________"#,___*@`__-N#____`___-!^_____________ |
| _________#1__________?________________________ |
| _________j1___________________________________ |
| ____!4yaa#l___________________________________ |
| ______-"!^____________________________________ |
` _______________________________________________'

UT has one (5, Informative)

Lane.exe (672783) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842834)

I'm not sure if it's free or not, but the University of Texas [] has a book exchange. I've never used it personally, but I know people who have and they've always been satisfied with it.

Re:UT has one (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6842863)

Also check out illinois' book exchange at It has a nice interface similar to the bookstores and allows you to send the owner an e-mail with a place to meet.


I AM BARRY BONDS! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6842922)


Re:I AM BARRY BONDS! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6842941)

Obvious troll. Everyone knows that niggers can not use computers (well, they can steal them and sell them, so I guess that is 'using' them.) Nevertheless, the spelling and the typing give it away. It is not possible that a nigger typed the parent, thus it is a troll.

Re:I AM BARRY BONDS! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6842954)

+5 nigformative, +5 interesnigting, +5 nigsightful

Re:I AM BARRY BONDS! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6843010)

Niggers do have an influence on Slashdot, though. We all know that one of the favorite activities for niggers is selling drugs. And one of the biggest consumers of drugs from niggers is Slashdot moderators. Without niggers, moderators wouldn't be ensured to have a constant supply of crack. On the other hand, I must agree, Slashdot would be better off without niggers, especially the gay ones.

Anyways, mod the parent up as informative.

YES SIR! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6843012)

your wish is my command.

Re:UT has one (-1)

waitigetit (691345) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842978)

Here's a screenshot [] of the software they're using

GOATSE.CX LINK (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6843057)

Don't click

Re:UT has one (3, Informative)

blugu64 (633729) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842983)

As does UT Dallas,
quite cool, but seems kinda lacking for some reason that I can't quite place. I used to sell my books and to buy one of them. I recieved fair prices for them. and was quite convient

Baylor is all up in this one: (3, Informative)

lpret (570480) | more than 11 years ago | (#6843039)

Check out these links at your favorite Bastion of Baptistry [] : As you can see, here at Baylor we have a few options to choose from -- more choices mean better prices :) And for once I'm on topic by saying:

Sic 'Em Bears!

Seems Easy (2, Insightful)

l810c (551591) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842837)

Depending on how you wanted to do it, it seems like it would be fairly easy to modify a store front or auction software to handle the specifics of text books.

Seems Easy ... because it is (1, Funny)

SkoZombie (562582) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842862) has all the software you need, although you might need a few other things, but they are free too.

The customisation might take a while tho i guess ;)

That wheel isnt round enough! Lets reinvent it.

Re:Seems Easy (1, Insightful)

yintercept (517362) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842963)

A large number of students seem to be using,, powells, and or ebay to sell off and buy text books.

Why not use the blood sucking immoral capitistic programs provided by the free market?

You completely inhale the pastes in crust (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6842839)

It has come to my attention that you completely inhale the pastes in crust. Read on for more about this fascinating topic.

The world went into shock a few weeks ago when [] reported the results of a study which concluded that inhaling paste is a very dangerous pastime, one that no one is advised to take up. Eventually, everyone adapted to the new state of affairs and began inhaling other things. Almost everyone, that is. But not you! According to my records, you still inhale paste!

Why?! What the fuck is wrong with you?!


Are you talking legally or illegally? (5, Insightful)

cliffy2000 (185461) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842840)

At my school, we kept PDFs of the student solutions manuals on the school network. This was probably a violation of copyright law, but it's an effective countermeasure to being charged $40 for a tiny paperback book.

Re:Are you talking legally or illegally? (1)

RTPMatt (468649) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842895)

Why dont you start a "book club" at your school. It could be a place where students could meet and trade books on any subject they like. then the school would provide the facilities.

Re:Are you talking legally or illegally? (1)

cliffy2000 (185461) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842914)

Actually, the engineering school is 100 students/grade, and the school keeps a copy of every required book in the library. So, in a sense, if you couldn't afford the book, you could theoretically use the library for all your work.
And before you say, "Can't afford it? What about tuition?" -- it's a tuition-free school. So yeah. Woo! Full-scholarship! [/gloat]

Forum? (5, Informative)

shadowcabbit (466253) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842843)

Why not just set up a BBS/forum? Plenty of free ones exist (phpBB, phorum being the two most popular), and a little moderation and regulation (i.e. one forum has offers, one side has requests), you could easily have an alternative to the campus bookstore.

Re:Forum? (4, Insightful)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 11 years ago | (#6843018)

Yeah, my university (Purdue) actually has one of it's own: "" which is on the university's news server.

There are also,, and

I use them all the time to get stuff. I built my computer off of parts I obtained from the newsgroups, actually.

Easily searchable, fast because it runs off the schools servers (which I use to access it). I imagine there's something like that at a lot of schools, and there are just lots of students who don't know about it.

beating a dead horse (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6842844)

It's been done, and there is really limited interest. The University will NOT promote it at all (they want to sell used books for high prices themselves). Make the software yourself or just hack some forum code.

Must be a slow news day... posting lame 'coding is hard' rants. Just shut up, and get to work.

No. (3, Insightful)

yerricde (125198) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842846)

What you are looking for is consumer-to-consumer sales software. This is often done with an auction model [] . However, most technologies to do C2C are patented out the you-know-whatse in many jurisdictions, either by eBay or by the latest holding company to sue eBay.

Re:No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6843028)

What you are looking for is consumer-to-consumer sales software.

As opposed to business-to-business buzzword compliant software, of course.

Auction software (5, Informative)

madsen (17668) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842849)

Take a look at MySQLauction [] .
Freshmeat [] is also a good startting point.

In the meantime.. (4, Informative)

l810c (551591) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842851)

Links to cheap textbooks []

Ahem (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6842972)

Sorry, but cock-sucking school is not really 'higher education'.

Re:In the meantime.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6843052)

And links to free textbooks. []

Creating a Monster (5, Interesting)

fbroooooz (545056) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842857)

When my parents went to school they actively participated in a grassroots book exchange program to protest the high priced book and supply store that had all the business. By the time I started taking classes at that same school, the small book exchange they started had transformed into an equally evil and overpriced textbook boutique.

Perhaps politics and bureaucracy are the main roadblocks to creating something like this instead of html, cgi, and perl.

Re:Creating a Monster (1)

thelasttemptation (703311) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842866)

So they start one now and it will replace the evil one and then in 20 years the cycle can start again.

Yes (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6842861)

Called Marketplace [] . Gotta have a checking account to sell and a valid credit card to buy. Reasonable prices and scam-free transactions (if you're a seller), although Bezos does take a 10% cut of the sale.

I had about 3 orders come in this weekend for the books that have been on the shelves and listed on used market for 2 months or so.

Re:Yes (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6842928)

Of course there will be massive shipping fees to mail a text book. We're talking about something to exchange it in person with a fellow student at your school.

Rutgers Used Book Swap (5, Informative)

jgaynor (205453) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842867)

A Member of the Rutgers University Student Linux Users Group [] has created just such a thing here at RU using PHP and MySQL. The site is hosted on our server here: []

I'm not completely familiar with the project - there's an "about this site" [] page, but no real mention of a license in regards to the php scripts being used. The author's link is on the about page - try emailing him.

Hope that helps and good luck sticking it to those bastards at efollet [] who, whether you know it yet or not, probably run your school's bookstore!

Seattle Pacific Book Exchange (3, Interesting)

H0NGK0NGPH00EY (210370) | more than 11 years ago | (#6843021)

SPU also runs a similar service which, while I did not design, I was in charge of upkeeping for a year and had to do some fairly major rehauling. It's designed using ASP with an exchange database (I know, I know...), but it might be worth checking out: []

I might even have the source for the asp pages, if anybody wants them. The main difficulty for a project like this though, is getting the word out. The best system is useless if 80% of students don't know about it. Whoever plans to undertake something like this should make sure they have a good advertising plan laid out.

Sourceforge (1, Insightful)

ibjhb (173533) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842868)

Is where I would look.... []

This type of question can usually be answered by a (0, Offtopic)

Tim_F (12524) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842872)

simple google. That's what pisses me off about Slashdot. The users are too lazy to type a couple of characters into Google, and yet they're willing to waste the Slashdot editors (and our) time by sbmitting these stupid questions.

Now, onto the ask slashdot portion of my post. Any first year programmer with a rudimentary knowledge of programming could write what you require. If you search freshmeat,net you'll find thousands of mp3 cataloguing programs written by people bitten by the programming bug in their first year of compsci. Most of them have been abandoned as they suck.

If they had been written in an object oriented language (such as C++) instead of Perl, the program would have been modular by default, and these programs would not be laying by the wayside to this day. Just imagine the possibilities, at the click of a mouse, people could turn an mp3 database into a book or recipe database. This world would be a much better place if everybody programmed in C++ instead of Perl.

What query? (2, Insightful)

yerricde (125198) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842906)

The users are too lazy to type a couple of characters into Google

Too lazy, or too busy to take an hour experimenting with fruitless queries? Not everybody is enough of a Google master to get relevant results on the first, second, or third try. What keywords did you use in your query?

If they had been written in an object oriented language (such as C++) instead of Perl

Perl supports object orientation [] , and so do Lisp and Python.

Re:This type of question can usually be answered b (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6842923)

hehe maybe your just trolling but just putting it in C++ does not make it modular. That has to be designed in. That is something they do NOT teach enough at school. They teach the theory of how to make a program. But not why you make something modular or linear. They show you how to make link lists, arrays, parsers, and you name it its in there. But they seem to skip the one idea of HOW to make something modular. They usually stand in front of a class wave their hands in the air and say 'just do it'. Never how and why you do that.

For example you always here out of profs and TAs that Goto is bad. But not WHY it is bad. It 'just is', or you 'might write bad code with it'. But what is BAD code? I have seen just about every construct ever invented in every language abused, even did it to myself a few times. The funny things most compilers use the HELL out of the goto for your own programs. But the profs/TAs never tell you this.

But I am ranting now. I move along now :)

Re:This type of question can usually be answered b (1)

kale77in (703316) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842948)

This world would be a much better place if everybody programmed in C++ instead of Perl.

You want to write websites in C++ just to get object orientation? You clearly have far too much time on your hands. Try PHP4 [] or, better, 5. You'll find most of the code you need for free in existing online repositories, and even find a fair bit of the syntax familiar.

Re:This type of question can usually be answered b (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6842973)

So let me get this straight: you consider the time it takes to read the headline and first five lines of a synopsis a "waste of your time". Get a grip, Slashdot is a waste of your time.
Clue: if your not interested, DON'T READ THE COMMENTS

In regards to wasting the editors time, they obviously didn't think so, or they wouldn't have posted it.

As for wasting MY time, I am glad for this post. I have paid out my arse for textbooks in the past and thanks to one of the links here already, may not have to do so again.

I call troll.

Price gouging on-campus bookstore (5, Insightful)

AsmordeanX (615669) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842877)

In my first two years I faithfully bought my books from either the campus bookstore or the student union run bookstore (student's consign their books)

Then I discovered Chapters (Maybe Amazon is the same) would order almost anything. Of course there was a week or two waiting period but when you are talking $63.50 versus $118.95 it is worth it.

So if your prof. insists on using new books or has to have the latest edition, don't forget book stores. Even smaller ones can sometimes order in texts, you just have to pay in advance because they can't sell it to normal people if you don't buy.

:Price gouging on-campus bookstore-Recycling. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6842945)

Two things.

First I recommend people check with their local used book store. Some of them throw away textbooks.

Second my school would change the books used every semester to "combat" this recycling. (Oh they would never say that to your face)

Re:Price gouging on-campus bookstore (2, Insightful)

jamesh (87723) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842996)

I started a C/S course in 1994, and likewise dutifully purchased all my texts. I stalled a bit the next year but bought most of them again. Finally it dawned on me that I was getting nothing out of them, wasn't using them, and could have purchased them half price from the "i'm only at uni because that's what I thought I was supposed to do after school" dropouts. (OT flamebait - how can Universities claim they need more places when (in my experience) 80% of first year enrollments eventually drop out, and should never have gone to uni in the first place!!!)

This is a good idea (1)

Dorothy 86 (677356) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842878)

for several reasons. Seeing as how I'm about to go into college, and with the cost of books ever increasing; I'm quite interested in this. C'mon /.! Share your ideas, make college cheaper for the current high school jouniors/seniors!

Have some respect! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6842879)

How dare you say we (association of campus book stores) are overcharging students? You piece of shit! We're charging a fair price so you pampered little fuckers getting subsidized education on public dimes (mine included, but not willingly or happily so). You ingrate! I see you little pricks come in the store and I just know 99% of you weasels will amount to NOTHING despite your silver spoon fed pampered ass getting a paid education by daddy and taxpayer. If you don't like paying for the books, just photocopy them from a friend (not like you're buying music or movies now anyway, you copyright violating little fucks), or better yet, pay to have your papers written on your behalf and your exam grades altered.

You people make me sick! In fact, I'm almost tempted to bring a loaded semi-automatic with me to work tomorrow and see how fast I can make you fuckers run.

But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6842889)

But I love you...

Have some ritalin (4, Insightful)

C10H14N2 (640033) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842979)

I'm glad to see your college education was successful enough for you to still be completely oblivious to the fact that the vast majority of university tuition financing is through private finace -- student loans are almost always merely guaranteed by the government but not a single dime of your-hard-earned-tax-dollars are spent. The fact that it is subsidized in very limited circumstances (extreme financial need or extreme academic achievement) is quickly mooted by the fact that most college graduates pay taxes the rest of their lives as their parents and children no doubt will..

Re:Have some ritalin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6843046)

I'm talking about Canada, you worthless piece of shit. Education costs are HIGHLY subsidized there. Don't know about, nor do I give a flaming fuck about, you American motherfuckers.

Here is a book I reccomend (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6842886)

Its not a book, actually, but close enough
Click here for article []

Michael Sims, Domain Hijacking and Moral Equivalency by Jonathan Wallace [mailto]

How would you feel if your webmaster maliciously took your web-site offline, then, when you demanded its return, put up a site attacking your company at your old URL? It happened to a group I was involved in, the Censorware Project, currently at [] . The purpose of this essay is to put the behavior on record, and to give you some impressions and inferences about it.

The Censorware Project was originally an informal collective of six people who collaborated online to fight censorware: Seth Finkelstein [] , Bennett Haselton [] , Jamie McCarthy [] , Mike Sims, Jim Tyre and myself. Several of us had never met or even spoken on the phone, yet for some time -- around two years as I recall -- we had a remarkably easy collaboration. There was no funding, no hierarchy, no titles, not even project managers. Someone would suggest a project and take the responsibility for a part of it, others would sign up for other elements, and proceeding this way we got a remarkable amount of work done, including reports on X-Stop, Cyberpatrol, Bess and other censorware products.

Even though two of us were attorneys -- Jim and myself -- we never incorporated the group or wrote a charter or any contracts among ourselves. Mike Sims was obliging enough to register the domain, just as other members paid for press releases and the other incidental expenses which came along. Mike also served as webmaster of the site and did substantial work [] for the group, including writing contributions to several of the reports and lead authorship of at least one. Seth was the source [] of our decrypted censorware blacklists [] and managed many technical tasks, but later felt he had to leave the group because of the increasing prospects of a lawsuit [] , particularly under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). After Seth left the group, the remaining five continued.

Robert Frost said that "nothing gold can stay," and the Censorware Project was no exception. Over the summer of 2000, Mike Sims' reaction to a perceived slight from Jim Tyre was to take the site down for a week. He sent us mail at the time saying something like "The Censorware Project is now closed." [] I replied to him that, given that the group was a collective and we all had an interest in its work product, the domain, and the goodwill it had achieved, the decision was not his to make. Sims did not reply.

After Seth created a partial, text, mirror, Mike put the site back up a week later without explaining, let alone apologizing for, his actions. Given his continuing failure to answer any email from me (and I think from others) and the overall signs that Sims thought the group was exclusively his, I wrote him several emails requesting that he turn the domain over to Jamie or Bennett, as I felt we could no longer trust him to administer it. We also found out during that time that important email from people trying to contact us, including members of the press, was not being answered by Sims, nor being forwarded to other members.

I ultimately became exasperated that my name was listed as a principal on what had now become a "rogue" site I had no control over. Over about a five week period, I wrote Sims several more emails asking him to delete my name from the site if he wasn't going to transfer the domain. Again, I received no reply.

In November 2000, Sims took the Censorware Project site offline again, with a message saying "Due to demands from some of the people who contributed, in however minor a fashion, to this site, it has been taken down." Judging from some email I received from him at the time, this meant me.

Its a sad thing, both because we got some good work done and because some of the other members of the group were eager to continue and in fact have continued working, while deprived then of the Censorware Project site, name, email aliases and public recognition. Within a few months after, we relaunched the site [] , with the original content, at [] . We only had the content available because Seth Finkelstein had mirrored it -- the rest of us trusted Mike and therefore had not maintained an archive out of his control.

But all the hundreds or thousands of links Censorware Project had build-up over the years still pointed to the old site. In some cases, it was impossible to fix them, since they were from mailing-list archives, old web news pages, in print, or webmasters didn't want to be to be bothered with edits. And anyone who tried to get in touch with us by sending mail to the previous contact address would have their message trashed by Sims.

In 2002, amidst the publicity of a major trial against a Federal censorware law ("CIPA" [] ), Sims made further changes to the site. He expanded it with an essay accusing various other members of the project, principally Seth, of bad behavior. Remarkably, in his chronology of events, he does not deny nor even try to explain his take-down of the domain of a busy activist group which did not at all consent to being robbed of its domain:

... A few weeks later, the last shreds flew apart in a couple of bitter emails back and forth, and the website came down. I was asked nicely by Jamie McCarthy to restore the site. Reconsidering my hasty actions, I did so.

... It was conveyed to me that Tyre and Seth were pleased that I had given in to Jamie's request and restored the site, because that meant that Seth could spider (use an automated tool to download every webpage) all the content off of the site in preparation for putting it up elsewhere. That is to say, what I thought was a sincere and honest request from Jamie was actually a sort of trojan horse - made under a dishonest pretense.

That was the last straw. At the beginning of November, the site came down, for good.

Michael has now set things up so that every pointer to former content leads to his attacks. What this means is that hundreds or thousands of links which were put up elsewhere to Censorware Project content during our hey-day now, when followed, lead to Michael's denunciation of the group. Try the experiment -- invent a URL starting with, such as index.html and you will get to Michael's rant.

Although we made some attempt to contact people maintaining pages that linked to us, and ask them to redirect the link to the new, we could not contact all of them, and some never made the change. My own Ethical Spectacle [] site had scores of links to -- and every time I thought I had changed them all, I would find a few more.

In short, this is a colossal and continuing act of malice by our former webmaster, Michael Sims. It's not even ambiguous -- you can go and read Mike's essay at and confirm that he admits he did it.

Astonishingly, there were no consequences [] to Michael, as far as I know, for taking down the Censorware Project content [] and redirecting its substantial web traffic, first to a page which said the group no longer existed, and now to his rant against its members. We had some internal discussions about suing him to get the domain back. I thought there might be some merit in it and that we might be able to prove common law collective ownership of the domain by establishing our mutual contributions of work and money to create the content which was published on the site. However, another lawyer, much more knowledgeable about these things than I am, believed that the fact that Michael had been allowed by us to register the domain in his own name would be definitive and that we would lose.

The Censorware Project had been invited to participate in a mailing list of free speech organizations known as IFEA [] -Plan. After Michael took down, several of us requested that he be removed from IFEA [] -Plan because he had so badly violated our confidence. (His current rant on the site reveals a number of confidential communications he received over the years.) The list-master declined to delete him and we got a number of "We don't want to get in the middle of this" type messages from various other participants.

I was naively astonished by these. If the ACLU [] 's webmaster had trashed the organization's site, I think everyone would pretty well recognize he was a Bad Character and Not To Be Trusted. As much more minor players, despite the significant contributions we had made in revealing what censorware actually blocked, no-one could be bothered to take a stand for us. There was nothing to be gained.

Another thing I learned from the experience is the pretty obvious lesson that it is ultimately hard to decide whom to trust when relationships are based on email and lack the significant visual cues we usually use in making trust-related determinations. However, I had met Mike in person twice, while there are other members of the Censorware Project I have never laid eyes upon.

Also, even in the most collegial, relaxed and rewarding collaborations, its good to have a written contract -- exactly the advice I used to give law clients but that none of us thought to adopt to protect ourselves against the eventuality of a rogue member. Click here for article []

DIY (1)

BrainInAJar (584756) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842890)

You could... oh, I don't know... Write it yourself? About a thousand lines of C code (not much) done by an amateur programmer (like myself, in fact, I can think of how to do it right now, were I not so lazy, and the most advanced programming course I've taken is CS 102) and you're done.

Re:DIY (2, Insightful)

Xerithane (13482) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842898)

Web Based? In C? This is why amateur programmers don't do large scale projects.

It is a fairly simple procedure, but if you don't know about code why don't you stop telling people to do it themselves. It's obviously outside of your grasp, and if you think that 1,000 lines of C code could come close I'll pay you a dollar a line to come up with a complete P2P book selling server with client software that is cross platform.

Re:DIY (1)

BrainInAJar (584756) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842918)

If you're actually serious about the $1000/kline thing I'll do it. It'd be totally worth my time

Re:DIY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6842926)

PS: For that kind of money I'll even do it properly instead of hacking it together.

While it's certainly possible, I wouldn't want to. (1)

pr0ntab (632466) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842955)

With a lot of upfront planning, the right database, SSL, page generation and CGI libraries, you might be able to hack it at 1000 lines of C code.

But it ain't going to be pretty, and it sure as hell ain't going to be maintainable, or easily upgradable with future needs.

1000 lines is too little space to be flexible enough in your C/C++ coding to make it manageable or extensible. It's barely enough room for logic, dispatch, and page display. You'd have to limit yourself to giving a "magic token" to a person who completes the sale which lets them know how to get in contact with each other out of band to make the swap, or offload that to Paypal.

Not exactly an Amazon auction, eh?

Re:While it's certainly possible, I wouldn't want (1)

BrainInAJar (584756) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842981)

I had assumed payment would be offloaded anyways. The server would be in charge of cataloging books, searching for them, and removing them from the database once a sale is done (and recording the terms of the sale). You could do it in a kline + comments. Not easy, but not too hard either

Re:While it's certainly possible, I wouldn't want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6842993)

okay, I lie. "not too hard" should read "not impossible". I rethought it, and it'd be a bitch to do, but it's still somewhat doable

Re:While it's certainly possible, I wouldn't want (1)

kormoc (122955) | more than 11 years ago | (#6843008)

Shit, 1000 lines for that? Should be quite simple.

Fuck, using mysql, your talking about adding a extra 10 lines and you can query away. Tis not that fucken hard dude. A magic token indeed. Try having that in the database that the seller adds to the info and it can be as large as they want. Ssl? just off load all the real money transfers to paypal. It's easy, and a hell of a lot more trustworthy then some homebrewed page, Cgi libs? Do all libs count in your line count? What if I don't use any returns, as valid c doesn't require any, thus I could write in on one god awful long line.

Christ, I wrote a simple passthrough proxy so I could examine raw irc or aim chats, and it comes in at 95 lines. It's doing half of what you are asking already. 264 lines for a irc bot with mysql and a simple webserver.

This is a simple program that shouldn't need c(++) anyway.

Re:While it's certainly possible, I wouldn't want (1)

TexVex (669445) | more than 11 years ago | (#6843023)

With a lot of upfront planning, the right database, SSL, page generation and CGI libraries, you might be able to hack it at 1000 lines of C code.
Slow down, hoss. This is C [] we're talking about here, after all.

1000 semicolons, smart ass. (1)

pr0ntab (632466) | more than 11 years ago | (#6843084)


(oh and that other guy above me)

But seriously, have you ever really tried to write a CGI in C that wasn't for a single, simple purpose?

(makes me cringe in retrospect, I brag about it to annoy java weenies)

Thank god for makefiles, I'd go insane. It makes you appreciate how easy it is to just dive into a perl script and Shift+Reload in realtime. (1)

grupe1 (703313) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842894)

I have been working on a website to help university student trade books for sometime. It still has some problems that I need to work out. Let me know if this will help. I was planning on having it up and running well before winter break. I am still looking for a better domain name if anyone has any ideas.

Distributed Library Project (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6842896)

As recently mentioned on this very site:

mod parent up (1)

DrEasy (559739) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842952)

I think the parent link is the closest answer to what was asked for. The software running the site can apparently be downloaded and adapted. Doesn't look OSS though.

not that I like it... (4, Insightful)

mrscorpio (265337) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842899)

But subverting one of the university's ways of making money just means they have to raise tuition...they'll get it from somewhere.

I feel it would be more relevant, realistic, and admirable to instead try to get your university to divert less funds into the sports programs, and more into academia.


Re:not that I like it... (2, Funny)

BrainInAJar (584756) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842960)

If they did that, they'd be a Canadian university.

Not going to happen (2, Insightful)

Ender77 (551980) | more than 11 years ago | (#6843036)

Universities get most of there money back at sports games. That is why so much money is spent on them and less is spent on the academics.

Re:Not going to happen (3, Informative)

mrscorpio (265337) | more than 11 years ago | (#6843055)

That's a common myth...even ESPN states the fact that only a select handful of schools make money off of sports. Most are far into the red, trying to keep up with the marketing/recruitment of the more successful schools...


Re:not that I like it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6843080)

But subverting one of the university's ways of making money

University's ways? How much do you think they actually mark up what they bought it for?

U of A has one... (3, Informative)

Grasshelix (534691) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842900)

We have one that was designed by our WWW Interest Group here on campus:

Berkeley Used Book Exchange (3, Informative)

cfarivar (655668) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842903)

There's also Come Get Used [] over here at Berkeley.

Book Exchange... (4, Informative)

Ramses0 (63476) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842904)

Hi. Our uni (UT-Dallas) put this together. Hi B/M. :^)

Demo site:

Project page:

Have fun. These seem to be reasonably successful implementations.


simple (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6842909)

Buy 1 copy of the textbook, rip to PDF file with a scanner and burn to CD.

Oh, and post it to WinMX for the rest of us...

Change the text each semester (2, Interesting)

toxic666 (529648) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842913)

Profs have this one down cold: change the text each semester. Most of the 300 and 400 level classes I took had a new textbook each semseter, so selling the old one was worthless because there was no market.

I still have my Economic Geology (ore deposits) text, and it is a joke. It had little to do with the course material and was useless as reference for finding economic minerals. It was a compilation of theoretical publications.

Fortunately, the prof also sold his lecture notes. Luckily, all the test questions came from the notes, so we all had a chance to pass the class.

Re:Change the text each semester (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842925)

My favorite trick is when the professor writes the textbook for his class and then has you write all your homework solutions in the book. Sorry, you can't sell a book that's been written all over...

bunghole (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6842930)

gnaa reccomends anuses cheeses

UK Book Exchange (3, Interesting)

koniosis (657156) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842932)

UK Based Book Exchange [] Very good, Very free. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6842933) is probably top on-line site for this purpose.

for New York State Universities (2, Informative)

VoidVector (123753) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842936)

for New York State Universities

University of Illinois has one too! (4, Informative)

Navreet (703315) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842939)

A bunch of us at UIUC started one too (ABSOLUTELY FREE):

Illini Book Exchange [] , and we WANT to share our code and expand to other universities.

We've started atleast 4 other book exchanges at other universities recently (Cornell being one of them).

Here are some numbers []

(Basically in 8 months, ~$100,000 worth of trades, over 2000 users and 2500 trades).

So, if you want us to help just get a hold of us through: here. []

My friend made his own student site... (0)

ejito (700826) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842940)

It included a book exchange (free with no ads). He at first was using a forum. Then a couple months later hacked together a bookexchange using mysql and PHP, which he said took longer to design than program. I'd link it, but he'd lose all his bandwidth. If you're really that interested, just respong to this post with contact info, and I'll ask him to give you the source.

Cal Poly's book exchange site. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6842946)
Us Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo students have been using that free site for the past year'ish to exchange books directly.

different problem at my university... (1)

thedude13 (457454) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842965)

at my university we had a "for sale" email list that if you wanted to sale stuff you subscribed to and sent emails out over, of course in doing this you subjected yourself to emails of anything else being sold, but you also had a good chance of selling your books and anything else.
so the problem at my school wasn't selling the books, but figuring out far enough in advance of the start of classes which books were going to be used for that class.
if you could find out a week before classes started, you could order your books online or find people w/the books and not be w/o them in class. professors seemed unwilling to post their syllabi on their websites a few weeks before classes started (these usually had required books in them) and the campus book store was anal and probably would have complained to the president of the university in attempts to quash any booklist puvlishing efforts had we tried

Note to PageMap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6842966)

The first book you should look into getting is one on basic web-based development. An online community isn't rocket science. Look into PHP, MySQL, HTML, and basic web security.

eBay (1)

Wiggly (20115) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842971)

How about eBay?

Include the book title, university state and name in the description and people can search for books on their campus or on surrounding ones if it's a large city.

That really should be fairly easy to explain to people in a simple e-mail/leaflet when they sign up.

If eBay get enough students using it they may include a better interface to get more people using it.

Sell/ Buy via (2, Informative)

bstadil (7110) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842990)

Amazon Marketplace [] has a whole new section for selling and buying Textbooks.

They claim it takes 60 sec to make your textbooks available via their Used Textbooks section. Worth trying to sell one or two just to see how it works.

Amazon (2, Informative)

mrpuffypants (444598) | more than 11 years ago | (#6842994)

Put your books for sale on Amazon and buy your new books from amazon used as well. Not only do you get a far better selling price but you also get to buy and sell directly to other students rather than having to deal with the nasty campus bookstore.

They already have a lot of users and you get a better market that trying to sell just to students at your tiny liberal arts school.

Do what I did: I listed all my textbooks on Amazon marketplace and at the same time. When one sold one one site I pulled it from the other. In the end I made enough money to buy my new books from Amazon/Half used from other students.

A friend of mine helped me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6842997)

Last year, I was a freshman at the University of Oregon and had a pretty tight budget. A friend of mine who was a senior had put together a site that listed a lot of used resellers for common texts used at lot of universities. It saved me a lot. You can submit links and even sell your own books without any fee. Anyway, here is the link. [] (1)

alue (253363) | more than 11 years ago | (#6843003)

Check out [] . The guy who started it's an undergrad at Columbia. He offers the service to university without charge, if I remember it right. Works well, too.

I for one... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6843007)

...welcome our new bookswapping non-coding overlords. I'd like to remind them as a trusted Slashdot personality and accomplished programmer, I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground book swapping software production caves.

(pssst...write your own software)

Anonymous? Not for me...I stand behind my comments!

Re:I for one... (1)

Call Me Black Cloud (616282) | more than 11 years ago | (#6843013)

...and then I foolishly click the "anon" button...doh! This time I will reveal my identity!

Open textbooks. (3, Interesting)

Oscar_Wilde (170568) | more than 11 years ago | (#6843011)

What about getting Universities to use open content textbooks? []

I know this isn't a viable idea just yet and that it won't help people who need a particular text book for what ever course but it would be nice to be able to learn something new and complex without having to pay a million private companies for the privilege.

(I wonder how many slashdot readers it would take to whip up a first rate textbook for C programming)

Re:Open textbooks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6843068)

I wonder how many slashdot readers it would take to whip up a first rate textbook for C programming

I don't think I'd like a book with 10 pages of GNAA FR0$t P1zt, followed by countless goatse pictures. I think you grossly overestimate the intelligence of the slashdot community.

Examples (2, Informative)

polanyi (695506) | more than 11 years ago | (#6843016)

During the past year, on campus there have been three student attempts to tap the textbook market, of which two were textbook exchanges that involved commissions. (The other was an attempt in arbitrage.) Only a textbook exchange [] has survived, though it had to change its name after the University threatened a lawsuit over copyrights. There are 641 books listed, but I'm not sure if any are actually moving.

The scam of school books (2, Informative)

Ender77 (551980) | more than 11 years ago | (#6843029)

At my University, Most of the classes have brand new books(none are less than a hundread dollars) every semester. This is too keep people from buying cheeper used books or getting FREE books from classmates who already took the class.

UB's System (2, Interesting)

numark (577503) | more than 11 years ago | (#6843049)

Here at the University at Buffalo, our Student Association has created their own Book Exchange [] system in what appears to be ASP. This is probably the best solution, as each college can customize their own system to their specific needs. (I'm not too sure I'm big on ASP, being a PHP fan myself, but it seems to work out well.)

Postnuke solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6843054)

There's a module available for postnuke [] that allows for easy book exchanges. For the life of me, I can't find a link to it, but I've used it on my site (which I won't post here because I don't want it turning into a pile of smoking rubble).

ebay (1)

carpe_noctem (457178) | more than 11 years ago | (#6843062)

I list and buy all my textbooks on You can find pretty much any book you need, and make a ton of money by selling your books back at reasonable prices.

Just found this one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6843072)

Saw a couple ads around UW Madison campus for Seems to be as good a method to exchange books as any.


borgasm (547139) | more than 11 years ago | (#6843073)

I would set up a phpBB forum.

Give each department its own section. Have users list the books by title, ISBN, and asking price.

Since the server is searchable, and browsable by department, people should have no trouble finding buyers/sellers.

The DogEars Network, we do this (1)

ofassley (703320) | more than 11 years ago | (#6843075)

This is actually something that we (a group of undergrad students at columbia) are trying to do right now, with [] : to bring a very effective online textbook exchange we've built, along with a bunch of other similar tools -- stuff that students could really use but hasn't been provided by university administrations for reasons already mentioned here -- to other schools. These things, when designed well (less than 10% are, and there have been many of them attempted) work REALLY well on a single campus, little promotion is required becase students' need for them is so high. But it promotion IS required, as with anything, and that's the problem. Usually, the creators are the only ones who have enough invested to be willing to get the word out about such exchanges, and that's why they always stay at their campus of origin. Because you can't make money with a textbook exchange (unless you turn it into the "evil enterprise" somebody else mentioned, thereby over time making it as useless as the university bookstore buyback system.) The whole concept is to cut out the middle man, and to create a useful/successful/beneficial exchange you can't become a middleman yourself.

We've got some really good ideas about how to make it work though -- to keep it free while making it attractive enough to people at other schools to run and promote -- and we're practically there, the project is gaining a lot of momentum, everythign's looking really good! If anybody is interested in more info, send me an email.

All this will lower revenue for book publishers... (0)

weileong (241069) | more than 11 years ago | (#6843079)

... so how long before some TextBook Publishers Association of America (a la MPAA/RIAA) appears and declares it illegal/theft/morally wrong?

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