The Undergraduate Council is launching its re-tooled online textbook shopping service today, hopeful that the enhanced site will boost its campus presence and help supplement its annual budget shortfall.
The council's "UC Books" site-- www.fas.harvard.edu/~ucbooks-- searches online book retailers for the lowest prices on Harvard textbooks.
After a summer overhaul, the site will offer an expanded offering of course reading lists and now boasts a partnership with the Harvard Coop.
The refinements come largely as a result of the work of Student Affairs Committee Vice Chair Paul A. Gusmorino III '02.
Over the summer, Gusmorino and other council members, through the College's Committee on Undergraduate Education, sent letters to all members of the Faculty explaining UC Books and requesting reading lists.
Those letters, plus follow-up telephone calls to Faculty members have allowed the site to offer reading lists from more than 100 of the largest courses on campus. In the past, the site featured books from a handful of courses in select concentrations.
Under the council's newly-formed relationship with the Coop, UC Books will set the Coop's used book price as the benchmark against which students can compare prices from other book websites.
The Coop's used books typically cost 25 percent less than new books.