At the beginning of each semester, every student goes through the same daunting task: finding and purchasing required textbooks. Often, students are forced to purchase books from the university bookstore at high prices. It gets more frustrating when the professor deems the textbook necessary but rarely uses it.
The semester ends, and students take their stack of books back to the bookstore, where they are offered a small fraction of what they originally paid for them. Forced to sell them back for mere cents on the dollar, students have previously had very few options. That’s where CampusWise, a bookselling service developed by Old Dominion University students Max Hall and Austin Jones, comes in.
In the spring of 2014, Hall had experienced this scenario one too many times. “We just felt there had to be a better way for students to sell their books back to other students,” Hall said. He began working with Jones to develop what would become an affordable market completely controlled by the students.
By the end of the year, CampusWise was up and running, and students were selling their texts through the web-based service at prices they deemed fit. No longer did they have to settle for prices that would barely cover their lunch that day, let alone their next textbook.
During the first semester of its use, CampusWise had over 300 students registered to buy and sell textbooks. Book sales totaled over $1,300, and Hall estimates that the students saved over $3,700 by using their service. “It’s the best option for both buyer and seller, and hopefully it makes the process easier, more affordable and less stressful for students,” Hall says.
Operating CampusWise’s service is simple. All it takes to register is an active email account through ODU. After registering, students can either search for or sell any texts they’ve used for classes. Secure payments are made through Paypal, and students can either arrange to meet in person, or pay a few extra dollars to have the book shipped.
Hall and Jones are working on updating the website, and hope to have an app available for download by fall semester. Though their service is only available on ODU’s campus, they hope to expand. “Eventually, our goal is to spread to as many Virginia schools as possible and then go from there,” says Hall.
The two student entrepreneurs are also developing CampusBiz, a feature that will help other students at ODU develop their own ideas or sell products. Students will be able to operate their own storefront through CampusBiz. Through this new feature, Hall hopes to ‘encourage entrepreneurialism and make it cheaper and easier to help students get their own businesses started.”
Until now, the buying and selling of textbooks has been limited by the university. CampusWise gives students control and the option to sell or buy textbooks on their own terms, all while never setting foot in the bookstore.
Buy and sell your textbooks and keep up with Hall and Jones at www.campuswise.com, and follow them on Twitter @CampusWiseODU.