Next time your professor mentions the name of a textbook, you only need to click on a mouse to source it.
A growing number of college students in the city are now using online book portals to procure textbooks as it is easy and economical. “I went from one bookstore in Charni Road to another in Borivli trying to find a copy of ‘Automotive Mechanics’ before realising that I could easily order it on flipkart.com,” said Raffa Dalvi, a fourth year engineering student from Saboo Siddik College in Byculla. Subsequently, he used the service to order copies of the book for the entire class. These portals offer home delivery of textbooks and a cash-on-delivery payment option.
Another textbook portal, bucketbolt.com, provides a ‘buy-back option’, which allows students to sell the books they have bought at the end of the semester. “We return at least 50% of the sale price of the book. As we sell it at a discounted rate in the first place, students eventually pay less than half the maximum retail price of the book,” said Apurva Vadura, a co-founder of Bucketbolt.
Chaitanya Gandhi, 17, a first year student of the Bachelor of Management Studies course, bought all his subject books from Bucketbolt and plans to use the service next semester too.
Along with different sections for each course, the website also provides separate pages for each semester.
Students can also sell textbooks bought elsewhere in lieu of Bucketbolt credits, which can be used to buy new books from the portal. To increase their popularity, the portal has been roping in students to become brand managers on campus. Nishant Thakker, 22, who was a student brand manager for Bucketbolt last year, said, “I had to spread the word about the portal in college for which I got an additional 5% discount from Bucketbolt. As a result, I often ended up paying just 20% of the price after the buy-back.”
Rohan Soni, an engineering graduate who has used both Flipkart and Bucketbolt, said that books were cheaper at Flipkart when it was an exclusive book portal till about two years ago. “Although it is convenient, buying books online does not give an economic advantage unless there is a buy-back option.”
However, some students still prefer bookstores. Most students at St Francis College, Dahisar, flock to Bhavesh bookstore in Borivli. “We get at least 70%-80% discount on returning the books we buy from Bhavesh,” said Sharon Aranha, 20, a student of the college.