sells textbooks on the cheap

Phillip Kravtsov was just another student. At the beginning of just another school year at Rutgers University, Kravtsov paid almost $1,000 for the textbooks required for his classes. At the end of the semester, much to his dismay, he was told that he could receive a little over $110 if he sold all of these books through the campus buyback program.

Many college students experience this frustration when buying and selling textbooks, but Kravtsov decided to search for another option.

Kravtsov searched the Internet for a website that combined the social aspect of Facebook with the sale of textbooks, and came across

Only a few months old, the site was created by then Santa Monica College student Josh Hiekali, and already had a growing number of registered users and many local universities showing interest.

“I was in class when the idea came to me,” Hiekali said. “A teacher was telling us about the textbooks we needed, when all of a sudden, it clicked. I thought it was a genius idea, and knew that it could work.”

Kravtsov has a background in business, and felt that with the connections he had formed, he and Hiekali could make the website prosper.

“I am invested in the site because I know what it’s like,” Kravtsov said. “I was so frustrated with the buyback system. I was mad beyond belief, and wanted to do something about it.”

After about a year in existence, now has 160 nationwide universities enrolled with approximately 158,000 active users, and more students are learning about the site daily.

“I actually just went into the bookstore, and all my books are way too expensive,” SMC student Bryce Barker said. “I was planning on going across the street [to A&R Textbooks] to buy them, but now I’m going straight to that website. Now that I know about it, it’s the first place I’ll go to check out books.”

The website’s user interface is simple and straightforward. After typing in a school name, students are directed to a page where they can search for specific books that students on their campus have for sale. Each listing includes the seller’s contact information.

Sellers can create an account either by logging on through Facebook, or creating a new username and password. Members can then add contact information, list a book, set a price, and wait for interested students to respond.

All transactions are made on campus with cash, but there are plans to implement a credit card system and shipping options to the site.

SMC currently has almost 10,000 registered users on the site.

“I like it because it was more specific to our campus,” said SMC student Robert Kotonya, who has used the site to sell textbooks. “Compared to Amazon and other [textbook sale] sites, you get a much quicker response from buyers.”

With the site’s increased popularity, Hiekali and Kravtsov now plan to add many more features to the site. Along with shipping and credit card options, they plan to “optimize the website,” according to Hiekali.

“We plan to add a new system that will take out Amazon for textbooks, which will use the same type of system, but cost much less,” Hiekali said.

Both Hiekali and Kravtsov promise that, even with new improvements and additions, the site will continue to be free to use.

CultureLifestyle EditorComment