As the fall semester winds down and students begin to sell back textbooks BeerForTextbooks.com might be just the place to look.
Michigan entrepreneur Karol Grzesiak and a team started a website for anyone looking to sell back a textbook. The website, BeerForTextbooks.com, finds other websites that will buy back a textbook, tells users how much the book will sell for, then translates that price into how much of a favorite beer can be bought with the money.
The idea, Grzesiak said, came from Startup Weekend, an event where participants meet-up with a group of people with different talents at an event designed to get young entrepreneurs thinking about a viable business startup.
“It was a bunch of young people, all under the age of 25, got together just over the course of a weekend,” Grzesiak said. “We hadn’t met each other before that weekend. We got together and, utilizing all of our various talents, we created a functioning website, just over the course of 48 hours.”
Grzesiak said he’d had the idea for a while, but that he wasn’t able to put it into action without some help from the people he worked with at Startup Weekend.
Users enter the ISBN number of the book they’re looking to sell and BeerForTextbooks.com comprises a list of websites that buy back textbooks, such as ecampus.com, textbooksrus.com and bookbyte.com, among others, to find users the best buyback prices.
“What ‘textbooks’ does is we find the buyback prices for a particular textbook from all these different places and put it into one place,” Grzesiak said.
This website goes one step further, however, to show students how much beer can be bought with the money received from the book.
“So let’s say you select Heineken and type in your ISBN and it says the book is worth $100,” Grzesiak said. “We’ll tell you how much Heineken you can buy with $100. (The website) converts the book’s buyback prices that you would get for your textbooks into beer currency.”
The name of the website may be a deterrent to some, but Grzesiak doesn’t see it as a problem.
“Being a college student, you’ve got to realize that a lot of people are going to be spending the money on beer anyway, so might as well show how much beer they can buy for their textbooks,” Grzesiak said.
Senior Eric Addy thinks there may be a danger of stereotyping college students and suggested an idea to avoid this.
“I think it stereotypes all college students that all you want to do is buy beer instead of buying other things,” Addy said. “I think it would be more effective if it didn’t have just beer, like if it had a bunch of other statistics about what you could actually get with all this money.”
Freshman Clay Finley approves of the idea, however.
“I think it’s a great idea,” Finley said. “I mean, many college students like to drink a few beers or other sorts of alcohol. Just because someone uses the website doesn’t mean they’re huge boozers or anything.”
Although the website gives its users the bonus of how much beer can be bought, the main purpose of the site is to give students the best value for the books they plan to sell back.
“We’ve all been college students and we all know the disappointment we face when we try to sell back our textbooks at the end of the semester to the college bookstore and get pennies on the dollar,” Grzesiak said. “Mainly, we’re motivated by the fact that we’re trying to help students find a better way to sell back the textbooks to get more money for the textbooks.”
Even students who don’t like beer can use the site to find the highest buyback prices for books.
Grzesiak and his team are informing students about this website through Facebook and other ads.
“We’re not making any money yet so we’re trying to limit how much we’re spending out of pocket, but it’s Facebook and a lot of trying to contact colleges to get the word out,” Grzesiak said.
This is the first semester the website will be available for use by college students.