Members of the biggest homeschool group in the United States, with more than 80,000 families, are telling eBay, the Internet trading giant, “so long” with the launch of a new auction website for them to exchange books and supplies.
The new site was begun only about a week ago by the Home School Legal Defense Association, and already there are more than 1,500 registered users signed up.
It’s meant to serve as many people as are interested who are part of the estimated $1 billion annual homeschooling supplies business. It was triggered by eBay’s recent announcement that it was banning all teachers’ textbooks of any sort, including all such homeschool supplies.
“HSLDA created this site in response to our members’ concerns about the policies of other auction sites that do not allow the sale of teacher or instructor materials,” said a statement from HSLDA President J. Michael Smith.
“Anyone can sell materials on this site. You can sell through auctions, multiple item auctions, bartering, and fixed price sales. And if you have a lot to sell, you can upload the auction listings in bulk,” he said.
He said since the project is being offered as a member benefit, only HSLDA members will be allowed to buy.
“This also helps ensure that teacher materials are being sold only to teachers,” he said.
There are no fees for the use of the site, he said, with all profits going directly to sellers. But much the same as other sites, sellers will have profiles and buyers will rate their services.
“Our hope is that this service will be a blessing to you, allowing you to save money on curriculum purchases and recoup some of your costs by selling used curriculum,” Smith said.
A homeschooling supporter named Joan said HSLDA is widely known for its services to and support of homeschool families.
“I personally trust this organization and can’t express sufficiently the joy I have over this,” she wrote.
The new policy from eBay was made known as people who were auctioning various books watched as their postings were deleted. The company said it was just policy.
“As you may know, eBay does not permit items that are illegal, dangerous, offensive, or potentially infringing. Additionally, eBay has just recently made the decision to prohibit the sale of Teacher’s Editions of textbooks and solutions manuals that are intended solely for use by teachers. Since eBay strives to be a level-playing field, all Teacher’s Edition textbooks, manuals and guides will be covered under this policy. Unfortunately, home schooling Teacher’s Editions are not exempt from this policy and this policy will apply to all grade levels.”
Other items banned from eBay include animals, artifacts, autographed items, academic software, bootleg recordings, credit cards, drugs and paraphernalia, government IDs, lockpicking devices, human remains, police-related items, used underwear and used cosmetics, among others.
HSLDA also has its own use policies, and they say they primarily revolve around being honest about sales and purchases and staying on the right side of the law.
“Counterfeits, unauthorized replicas, unauthorized items or unauthorized copies (such as copies of software programs, video games, music albums, movies, television programs, or photographs) are not permitted,” the site says.
Earlier, the publishers of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine told WND they also wanted to help homeschooling families by listing alternatives to eBay.
“Homeschoolers frustrated with the eBay ban on teacher’s editions can take their business to other sites who understand the importance of being able to buy and sell teacher’s editions for home educators,” said a statement from Gena Suarez, magazine publisher.
Magazine officials said several of the sites that do allow homeschoolers to exchange materials include, Homeschool Blogger County Fair, This Little Piggy Stays Home, Waggle Pop, Homeschool Classifieds, Homeschool Christian, and My Homeschool Store.
Ian Slatter, the media relations director for HSLDA, had told WND when the eBay ban was announced that his organization was working on a solution, because of the “many complaints” it had heard.
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