During the first few days of the semester, students stand in a line to register their used books to sell at the Student Union Building. The next morning, students wearing high-heels run through the door of the building, checking a list of books and buying some textbooks for their new classes. The Ewha book flea market, run by the Ewha Cooperative, is a great chance for students to save money on their books, which cost half as much as new ones.
"The Ewha book flea market started in September, 1998 as a student cultural activity within the school. Around that time, similar movements at a national-level like Anabada (a formal national economic movement meaning saving, sharing, exchanging and recycling) was booming as well," said Yoon Sung-hee, who works in the planning department of the Ewha Cooperative.
The book flea market is managed and run solely by student members who belong to the cooperative's student council. The team named Life and Culture, which is one of three teams in the cooperative, is in charge of the whole process from setting the appropriate date to actually selling the books on a consignment basis. "Before the semester starts, members begin advertising for the event through posters as well as online postings," said Lim Cho-rok (International Studies, 2), who is the leader of the Life and Culture team.
The flea market first receives various kinds of books from students, and then sells them to other students. "The cooperative's members do not have to pay a consignment fee in order to sell their own books. However, non-members should pay 10 percent of their book’s price as a consignment fee and that is non-refundable," said Lim.
For fall semester 2008, students registered their used books September 1-2, and the registered books were on sale September 3-5. Some of the unsold books were returned to their owners September 8 and 9.
The flea market turned out to be successful once again this semester. According to the official data given by the Cooperative, over half of the approximately 500 registered books were sold each semester in 2007. In this semester, 388 books were sold, which was about 60% of the registered books. "Especially for the spring semester of 2008, the cooperative decided to set a limit that the price of book should be under half of its original price. This policy actually raised the sales rate to over 60 percent in 2008," said Lim.
Students living under the burden of expensive books give a sigh of relief choosing their books at the market. "I can buy various kinds of books cheaply, and it is convenient for me to check what books are on sale from the portal site. Compared to the online flea market, the process is simple too," said Kim Hyo-jin (Chemistry, 2) who bought a novel from the flea market.
Another student, Kim Yoon-mi (Environmental and Food Technology, 1), said that since she does not use a certain textbook anymore after she finishes the course, she decided to buy a used one from the flea market. “I am thinking of using this market next year too,” added Kim.