SMC student launches

Josh Hiekali, a self- proclaimed entrepreneur, is targeting Santa Monica College students with his latest website, was created in December  2010 for SMC students to post their textbooks online and sell them for their desired price. The students posting textbooks on the website must register by creating a username and password, then they wait  for a buyer.

The actual transaction is not made online but typically arranged for an on-campus pickup. After the sale, registered users can remove those books off of their account. "Once you sell your book you won't get more calls," said Hiekali.

Hiekali believes his website benefits SMC students because they can often sell their textbooks for more money than the SMC Bookstore would offer them and buy textbooks for less money. "It's a win-win situation for the seller and buyer," said Hiekali.

Promotion is Hiekali's top priority. When the website was first launched, Hiekali walked around the SMC campus handing out fliers and business cards. Today, he has recruited friends who help him promote the website to SMC students.  "My friends and I are now a team, instead of me doing it on my own," said Hiekali.

Two months ago, the website had around 900 books posted. Today, the number nearly tripled, but there still aren't enough books posted to guarantee all students will find the textbooks they need. "If more books are posted, there [will be] more people coming to search [for] books," Hiekali said.

On Monday, February 14, had over 8,000 hits and on Tuesday it went to nearly 15,000 hits, according to Hiekali. "This excites me every day," he said.

The number of website visits also includes those from  students like Dayanna Escobar,20, who couldn't find the books she were searching for.

Escobar is among the users whose search was unsuccessful. "I've been to the website three or four times and I never find what I'm looking for," said Escobar.

While all the details have not been yet arranged, SMC cafeteria's Eat Street is a sponsor for the website. "We are still in the process of trying to figure out this sponsorship with Eat Street," said Hiekali.

A few months before the creation of, Hiekali launched a website called, which gave SMC students the opportunity to share their notes, quizzes, and tests.

When Hiekali started promoting, SMC professors caught whiff of it and took the matter to College Disciplinarian Dean Judith Penchansky. The website was taken down immediately due to SMC‘s honor code and cheating regulations. "After the website was taken down, I thought, ‘okay, what can I do next?'" said Hiekali.                  

Hiekali's next goal is to target students from other campuses in Southern California. On March 7, will expand to UCLA and UCSB. "We will go to these colleges to promote our website to the students," said Hiekali.