With food, lodging and extracurricular fees, students have to pay for much more than tuition when attending a university.
However, two sophomores are trying to make a difference by reducing the cost of textbooks.
Brian Groll, an economics major, and Chris Swift-Perez, who is pre-law with a major in business organization and management, used their summer to create a website that will allow students throughout the University of Miami to save money on school books. CaneBooks.com’s mission is to help students to locate others who either need to buy or sell their books. After locating one another, the two students can meet anywhere on campus and exchange the amount of money they agreed on previously for a used textbook.
“We thought there was a big problem with textbook prices,” Groll said, “and we had an answer.”
Groll and Swift-Perez worked on the website throughout the summer and finally were able to launch it by Aug. 20. The site required them to use personal resources.
“It mostly took time and some money, but we thought it would be worth it to help the students,” Swift-Perez said.
The site is non-profit and currently has 250 registered users with 80 documented transactions. It is generating small amounts of money through advertisements, but Groll and Swift-Perez intend to put that money back into the company in the form of advertising for the site itself.
“Not a lot of people have heard about us yet, so we’re really just trying to spread the word,” Groll said.
One problem with the site, however, is that the students do have to save their textbooks from one semester to the next, which could become problematic for those students who live in other states.
Another flaw is that it becomes harder to buy all the books in one place. However for some it seems like a small price to pay for a more inexpensive textbook.
“I had to pay over $1,300 for my books and then they needed a dolly to help me get them to my car,” junior Kelly Paul said.
Paul is not the only student on campus who knows what it is like to pay top dollar for textbooks.
Asa Whitcomb, a sophomore, was “outraged” when she found out how much her textbooks were going to be.
“I think [the website] is a great idea,” Whitcomb said. “The cost of the books at the bookstore is ridiculous.”
Groll and Swift-Perez are still trying to get the site noticed and as many students have already sold their books from last semester to the bookstore they are expecting better results in the future. For now though, the duo is happy to be doing what they can for fellow students.
“Some people might be skeptical, but there are no charges or anything,” Groll said. “The site is really just for the betterment of the whole student community.”
Heather Colvin may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.