SAITSA app replaces ‘middleman’ for used book sales

SAIT students are now able to buy and sell used textbooks without ever stepping inside a bookstore thanks to the SAITSA app.

The SAITSA app has become the primary method of exchanging used textbooks because SAITSA Seconds, the used bookstore in the Senator Burns Building, closed permanently on June 24.

“Lately, we’ve been finding that SAITSA Seconds can’t sustain itself,” said Shona Sutherland, communications co-ordinator for SAITSA.

SAITSA Seconds often lost money because it was only busy during the start of each semester.

Business also suffered there because textbooks are constantly changing and being updated for courses.

“It just wasn’t a good use of the student association’s money,” Sutherland said.

The lack of physical space on campus was another factor that contributed to SAITSA Seconds closing.

The SAITSA app, however, has filled the void. Students can use it to find classes, check out upcoming events and even join student clubs.

It can also be used to exchange textbooks with other students, an option found under the Buy & Sell section.

“It’s just a nice place for them to connect,” Sutherland said.

Launched in the summer of 2015, the SAITSA app was not used much for buying and selling textbooks in the previous academic year because SAITSA Seconds was still open.

However, Sutherland said students have used it more extensively this semester.

The buying and selling of textbooks through the SAITSA app is strictly between students. Sutherland described it as an “on-campus Kijiji.”

“It’s kind of like cutting out the middleman.”

Only SAIT students have access to the app, which requires an active student email address in order to register.

Meanwhile, SAITSA moderates transactions in a limited capacity, such as monitoring for trolling.

“It’s a safe area for students to look through.”

During Welcome Week in September, SAITSA hosted a book sale outside the SAITSA Resource Centre in order to sell its remaining books.

It also provided a safe place for students who performed transactions on the app to meet with one another.

Sutherland said SAITSA might consider having another book sale in January.

The app can also be used to sell anything from cars to laptops, although it was almost entirely used for textbooks during September.

According to Sutherland, the SAITSA app is just as good at connecting with students as the defunct SAITSA Seconds was.

“I’d like to say it’s more effective because we’re not actually losing money.”

She also said the SAITSA app is superior to other online transaction mediums, such as Kijiji, for SAIT students to buy and sell textbooks since the app serves a more targeted audience.

“You’re only going to encounter books that are specific to SAIT programs.

More than 5,000 students were registered on the app ask of mid-No vember.

It’s just a nice place for them to connect – Shona Sutherland

Sutherland said SAITSA will continue to monitor the app to see if it useful for students and whether a new used bookstore is needed in future.

“With the addition of our new building within the next few years, this might change again,” she said.

About Peter Shokeir 5 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Peter Shokeir is working as a reporter for The Press during the 2016-17 academic year.