It’s the time of year when the cost of higher education comes face-to-face with college students that must make an important decision that may haunt them for years come. They choose their textbooks. Many pay for these books with student loans that may take decades to repay.
This appeared in the Wall Street Journal print version distributed in 70 US Sunday markets and includes an audio interview:
As college students close the book on another school year, they should consider selling their unwanted textbooks online.... But you can often sell textbooks for a better price online, says Derek Haake, president of CampusShift.com, an online search service for textbooks. And you'll be able to tap a market for your books, especially less common ones, beyond the campus bookstore.....In addition, you can scout and compare prices to buy and sell books at various online vendors by using CampusShift.com...
A new study by textbook search engine Campus Shift found that the difference between the lowest and highest textbook buyback prices online was a whopping 355%, on average. "If you don't compare, you really could be losing a lot of money when you sell," says Jeff Lorton, vice president of marketing for Campus Shift. For example, buyback prices for a commonly used textbook -- Quantitative Analysis for Management (11th Edition) -- currently range from $4.50 to $111.50.
But with more than 50 online textbook retailers, students could spend hours searching for the best price -- unless, that is, they use comparison sites such as Campus Shift...
Today, Campus Shift announced the results of its examination of college textbook buyback book prices using the top 50 textbook titles purchased in January 2013. This infographic highlights the incredible amount of money students may find when comparing online buyback services when selling their textbooks.
The study found that comparing online textbook buyback vendors netted students an average of $25 more per textbook, for an average buyback price of $50. Students that purchased the textbooks in the study would receive $500 more for their books over the year with the help of the textbook search engine.
Campus Shift recently announced the launch of their online textbook marketplace, allowing students across the country to sell and buy used textbooks locally. Derek Haake, founder of Youngstown-based Campus Shift, says the idea was borne out of his frustration with the amount of money he was spending on textbooks during his undergrad.
“What we’re trying to do is give students a fair price on their books,” he says, noting Campus Shift does not purchase the books themselves, like a University bookstore might. “The marketplace allows student to connect with each other,” and determine a public location to make the exchange, eliminating shipping costs and time.
Haake acknowledges problems with purchasing books off eBay or Amazon, saying the student does not ultimately know what the textbook is really worth. Campus Shift works around that problem. “Our software finds what the book is really worth, so students aren’t in the dark,” he says. And it’s all done without revealing personal information. “Everything is confidential.”
Campus Shift has launched a new Textbook Marketplace, an online community where students nationwide can buy and sell textbooks and class notes. Each book sold in the marketplace is priced using Campus Shift's Valuation tool, which uses a series of algorithms to calculate the value of a used textbook. WePay's secure-payments API is used to process transactions.
Today, Campus Shift announced the launch of its Textbook Marketplace that will help students lower the cost of their education with a new way to buy and sell textbooks and ultimately lower student loan debt. Textbook costs are now the second highest cost for students, and they exceed the cost of tuition at some community colleges. WePay's secure payments API will be used to process transactions for the Marketplace.
Campus Shift (CS), a Youngstown, Ohio-based start-up company, wants to “create more of a social space at each campus [for] students and businesses to interact, find deals for students and ways to make things better, including supporting their student organizations and providing them with tools to actually start a business on the side or look more into those things,” said Jeff Lorton, co-founder and vice president of marketing.
Derek Haake got his law degree, as well as an MBA, from the University of Akron in the last few years.
And he’s still not earning a regular paycheck.
But that’s OK with him.
The revamped version of his online venture Campusshift.com — a website college students use to search for deals on textbooks, as well as discounts at local businesses — is gaining traction on campuses nationwide.
For many young companies, especially in the IT space where you can get started with very little capital, there can be many “do or die” moments. Some make it past these challenges if they clearly see convincing evidence for the need to alter direction (to pivot, in startup speak). Much has been written about this – in fact, Tim Devaney and Tom Stein’s The Pivot: The Moment Where Startups Change or Die is a great primer on the subject.