“We felt as though the campus bookstore was ripping us off, semester after semester…”
Lake Charles, LA (PRWEB) December 11, 2013
It may come as a surprise to anyone not attending a university, or those of us too far removed to recall, that one of the most expensive and disturbing trends facing college students everywhere, has managed to avoid any real attention in today’s media. It’s the college textbook marketplace and a group of college classmates think they've found a novel solution with their new company, Bookstoop (http://www.bookstoop.com)
Bookstoop is a new platform where students can connect with each other directly to buy or sell their textbooks, providing an opportunity to save a significant amount of money on their textbook purchases, while earning more cash back (consistently more than campus bookstore buy-back programs) from the textbooks they sell.
“Bookstoop is a truly unique platform where everybody wins --- both the buyer and the seller,” explained Ben Nguyen, Founder. Nguyen added, “Pre-Bookstoop college students typically had very few options available to them. Most simply used their campus bookstore, where they saved very little, even when purchasing used books in the place of new ones. Then, at semester's end, selling into the bookstore’s buy-back programs, only to get a mere fraction of what they originally paid for the text --- literally pennies on the dollar. Bookstoop's free service creates a way for students to connect directly with other students looking to buy or sell a particular textbook. Thereby, ideally cutting the bookstore, or middleman, out of the process completely.”
Ben Nguyen explains, “We felt as though the campus bookstore was ripping us off, semester after semester. They were profiting off us in an exorbitant and unfair way. We simply refused to accept this as some “necessary evil” of the college experience, so we developed a platform that works in a manner similar to Craigslist, but centered on course materials and textbooks,”
- To learn more about the broken structure and systemic effects of the current textbook marketplace, check out this wonderful infographic: http://www.onlineeducation.net/textbook-shakedown
The Bookstoop interface serves as a digital intermediary where students can connect, discuss pricing and set up a meeting time or make shipping arrangements. In addition, Bookstoop members can also buy, sell and trade other course-related items, such as class notes, PowerPoint presentations, exams and quizzes, study guides, lab reports and beyond.
Zach Wyatt, an advisor for the team adds, “It’s exciting to watch Bookstoop continue to grow and evolve! We think it has the potential to become this ubiquitous, digital hub for all things related to college and collegiate course materials. There’s been brainstorms about possible synergies such as forums discussing actual differences (if any) between new and previous textbook editions, or added components for students to "grade" characteristics of a professor, such as actual use of textbook and quality of powerpoint/lectures. But no matter the ideas, the direction Bookstoop will take really is up to the user community.”
“We've already tested the Bookstoop interface at four different college campuses, including California State University - East Bay (CA), McNeese State University (LA), Mount Holyoke College (MA) and Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi (TX),” Nguyen explained. The feasibility testing involved more than 200 listings and 70 transactions from thousands of unique visitors, which allowed the Bookstoop team proof of concept viability and insight into opportunities to streamline the interface and improve the overall user experience.
Next up, on Bookstoop's horizon will be a mobile app for both iPhone and Android platforms. The app will feature an easy-to-use, fully-integrated book database, so students can enter a title, ISBN or the particular course they are taking and the system will list the book’s information instantly. The mobile app will also enable students to scan the textbook’s bar code directly, making it simple and convenient to list an item for sale or to create a wish list of books and course materials they’re seeking to purchase. Other application features include push notifications/text messaged updates and time & place meeting points for face to face transactions.
“The app development and web upgrading process for us to reach 50 new colleges is expected to cost about $30,000. Since most of us are still in college, we need all the help we can get, so we've launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to raise enough funds to aid in covering these costs,” Nguyen indicated.
The Bookstoop team plans to offer a range of perks to contributors, such as letting them decide which smartphone platform is developed first and which college Bookstoop launches in next, custom designed tee shirts, leather padfolios, USB jump drives and digital recognition through the website and mobile app. as well as early access, as a beta tester, to the mobile app and the Bookstoop 2.0 website.
Bookstoop was created by students, for students and is the brainchild of a group of classmates at McNeese State University, located in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
To contribute to the Bookstoop crowdfunding campaign page on Indiegogo, visit http://igg.me/at/bookstoop
To learn more about the Bookstoop platform, visit http://www.bookstoop.com.