After seeing this terrific AMA from the team, we thought we'd jump into the mix. If you haven't, please check it out. Kasey is honest, transparent throughout, and it's one of the more thorough AMA's I've read in a while.

Our story-- We (my co-founder is /u/bhalp1) are two 2012 grads who met on /r/NYCjobs last February. Since then, our humble, bootstrapped, two-man team has been hard at work building a free student textbook exchange and price-comparison engine. Check it out at

Our goal is simple: give the people what they want. That means an exchange where they can buy/sell without paying a fee, and the tools to find the best online deals when there aren't any student listings for the book they need.

Feel free to ask us anything!

edit: proof by request:

edit2: If you're interested in providing feedback on a new Chrome extension, check out It's currently in beta and works with college bookstores on the and domains. There are definitely some edge-cases that might cause errors, so feedback would be amazing and totally appreciated!

edit3: If you're interested in following along with our journey (and have a .EDU), please sign up at our site. It'd be huge to continue getting this support from the community. Additionally, we have a small subreddit at /r/TextsDotCom where you can chime in with any comments / feedback you might have.

Comments: 444 • Responses: 86  • Date: 

bhalp1200 karma

Mr. Peaches: your website seems to have the momentum of a runaway freight train. Why are you so popular?

peaches017163 karma

Ooh, a tough question but a fair one. /u/bhalp1, there's no single answer. Some students respond to my integrity, others are more impressed with my incorruptibility. Still others buy my determination to lower textbook prices. And the bureaucrats in the publishing companies can put that in their pipes and smoke it!

bhalp127 karma

FF52485 karma

Polite. Grammatically sound. Concise. No possible way that's a genuine Reddit comment; this must be a setup.

bhalp126 karma

Highsight7 karma


bhalp16 karma

shots fired!

... now my Woody Allen Impression.

ForecastPandaRain91 karma

How is this different from Amazon or They already have a larger supply of books which means more competition and lower prices. How do you short circuit that issue (or in other words, what makes you different)?

peaches017116 karma

Unlike Amazon or Half, we don't have a physical warehouse or our own stock of books. We work with companies like Amazon and Half (and Chegg, ValoreBooks, etc.) to price-compare their deals. We recognize that we can't possibly compete with the likes of Amazon or Chegg, so we partner up and then display the best prices to our users.

Here's an example listing from our site to give you a sense of how it works--

geneusutwerk140 karma

Are you afraid that some one will come along in the future and create a website that compares book prices across websites that compare book prices across website?

peaches017434 karma

This is our single greatest fear. is coming after us with a vengeance.

Athole52 karma

As the owner of, I will offer you a 20% share in my company for $250,000 $200,000.

peaches01752 karma

My god, someone actually did register, hilarious.

Javad0g12 karma


vigrond30 karma

Creation Date: 2014-03-28

Registrant Name: Chen Xiaojie

Registrant Organization: Privacy Protection Service

Registrant Street: 1200 Pudong Avenue, Office# 702

Registrant City: Shanghai

(this is public information)

DEVi4TION7 karma

Did a bot do that?

peaches01729 karma

It would be super interesting if this were a sophisticated "domain tasting" bot. Back in the day, you could "taste" domains for like 5 days and then return them with no cost (or like $.0001/domain). I think they've made it more expensive.

But it would be super cool if there were a bot that crawled "trending unregistered domains," reg'd them, planted ads, then returned them when the "hype" had died down.

duckvimes_21 karma

Took a look at the sample listing. Suggestion: add a column for how long the rental period is for. If you see one rental at $30 and one at $50, the first might look better--but it might also be for only half as long as the second.

peaches01725 karma

Great suggestion. We'll be adding the rental length in the tool-tip. If you have other thoughts, please chime in at /r/textsdotcom !

freyyr20 karma

AbeBooks has been doing this for years. What features set you apart?

peaches01738 karma

AbeBooks is one of our top partners, and we're not directly competitive. Instead, we work with them (and other top retailers who really have their act together) to compare their deals. So, we tell whether AbeBooks is better than Half is better than Amazon, etc. on any particular book.

Ch00rD25 karma

It seems like the main effect of this could be to facilitate a price fixing cartel. Aren't you worried about that?

peaches01734 karma

Hmm, that's an interesting way to think about it. I guess the classical thought is that competition = lower prices. I think there's some prisoner's dilemma in play. They'd all do better if they price-fix, but if just one breaks ranks they'll win-out.

I think, in general, our service (and ones like it) help to push prices lower, but I'd be open to other thoughts.

Mastrmind13 karma

How is this different any other book price comparison site? Here are some examples:

I've been using CampusBooks and it seems to have more customization options than your site.

peaches01719 karma

The main differentiator is our student exchange. We list student deals right alongside the retail prices, which you won't find elsewhere.

CampusBooks is the real deal, though. They've got a nice site. Here's a time-saving tip for you: you can search our site instantly by typing the book title after

IE: Their Permission

It will bring you directly to the book result you're looking for.

Additionally, we'll be working to include Project Gutenberg listings, and suitable international / older editions going forward.

joneSee53 karma

Do you have a strategy for changing the teaching culture where cash strapped schools and teachers are given an incentive to use only "this year's model" of textbooks?

peaches01754 karma

This is a massive and foundational problem which we won't really be able to address at the source. Publishers lose out on the (massive) used textbook market (those are dominated by the campus bookstore, Amazon, Chegg, et. al.), so they use various strategies to really push new editions where they're able to profit. There's nothing about our platform that really attacks that dynamic, as we really focus on the used textbook market and generally encourage people to avoid the bookstore entirely (which are their strongest distribution channels). While we do aggregate new listings from sites like Amazon and/or Chegg, they're rarely students' first choice.

That said, we intend to implement crowd-sourcing features where students can indicate whether an older edition was a suitable substitute. This information is currently fragmented, and tends to force the average student into buying the latest edition, as they're worried the information and/or problem sets might differ slightly. We hope that our developing efforts to aggregate and organize this information will ease the reliance on new editions.

That's a long way of saying: no, we don't have a silver bullet. But we'll try and increase information to help students make informed decisions when considering older editions.

sapereaud333 karma

Have you considered a mathematic method of comparing editions? Perhaps some software that lets users hash books they have and comparing hashes between editions? (I'm assuming you can't just have them upload and you store PDFs for legal reasons but that would be better obviously)

peaches0177 karma

We think that we can accomplish this using crowd-sourcing as opposed to algorithms. It's still a work in progress, but I hope that this is one day part of our "secret sauce" that really provides a compelling value-proposition.

Old editions can sometimes be 1/4 of the price; create a set of "changelogs" would be hugely valuable.

silverswagsurfer21 karma

Did you only make this AMA because of the Shark Tank guy?

megatr0nn14 karma

Yes many of us came for this question to be answered.

peaches01726 karma

Yup - it was a great AMA; I actually noted this in my OP. They've got a really promising company and I'm excited to see it mature. This Shark Tank momentum and Cuban investment have really raised their profile.

Though we're somewhat competitive, I sincerely view as different armies on the same side of a big war.

bhalp111 karma

A big difference between our thing and their thing is that we are just offering market intelligence and not selling anything. I think eventually we will probably list their offering right alongside the rest of our listings if it makes sense to do so and they'd allow us to. Only time will tell.

-Ben tech guy

[email protected]

pertsix17 karma


peaches01728 karma

I knew this question was coming, and I generally shy away from answering it. But this is an AMA, after all.

I used to be a domain speculator back in the day (I was very active on NamePros, if anyone remembers me). I bought this for roughly ~$15k when I was a sophomore in high school (2006). I'd earned that money from constantly flipping domains-- a lot of's and the like.

Looking back, there was some amount of tulip-frenzy in the domain name aftermarket; but I'm very glad to have emerged with this solid name.

feierabend_bitte16 karma

How liquid of an asset is a domain like How long does it take to flip over? Days, week, months, or does it vary substantially? I assume you paid for this with your own money, is it a company asset or do you somehow lease it personally to the company to protect yourself from potential losses?

peaches01716 karma

I've been out of the "domain game" for a few years now, but back in the day it would have been very easy to quickly find a reseller who'd pay a fair price. With the economic downturn of 2008, it seemed like enthusiasm and discretionary income waned across the board, so the aftermarket really lost a lot of liquidity.

Selling a domain like (a generic, single-word .COM) should really be a thorough and strategic process of identifying the right end-user for the name. Because of that, there's really no proper answer on timeline.

JamesRenner15 karma


bhalp12 karma

thegreatgazoo14 karma

How do you make money doing this?

peaches01724 karma

Our whole model is to host a free student exchange bolstered by a price-comparison engine. Student-to-student is always free, and we don't take a cut.

But when there are no student deals, and a person uses one of our links to go to Amazon, Chegg, or one of those other sites, we earn a cut as part of their affiliate programs. It doesn't affect the student price-- they'll get the same deal as if they'd gone to the retailer directly.

metamet6 karma

And how successful has this monetization model been?

Always_Excited25 karma

Hookers and blow every weekend and sometimes Wednesdays

peaches01720 karma

We aren't yet able to take advantage of hump day. Hopefully someday soon, though!

Our monetization strategy has been validated, but we're far from satisfied. We need to dramatically scale our userbase and profile to have a truly sustainable business. That said, we're young and cheap, which is critical to any very-early-stage company that is making a run of it without raising outside capital.

sirtimid13 karma

My buddy tried doing this once. Almost exactly what you guys are doing.

peaches0179 karma

This is actually one of the closer matches to our model. Usually you get "textbook exchanges" trying to charge a fee -- I think that that the price-comparison model is the right monetization strategy. Would be happy to connect with your buddy and exchange notes. Feel free to put us in touch! (peter -at-

biernas12 karma

What's your opinion on textbook torrenting? I know I sure as hell torrented a few when I was in school. Textbook prices were outrageous and constantly changing editions. Last time I checked the laws of physics haven't changed much since last semester.

peaches01716 karma

I think that textbook piracy will always exist-- when you have an expensive product that can be (fairly easily) replaced by a free substitute, people will always take advantage. That said, over time, I think that innovation will continually lessen student's reliance on pirated material. We look at the shift catalyzed by Netflix, Spotify, etc., who offer a reasonable pricing model and fantastic user experience -- you can still pirate movies / music, but they've made a compelling case to use their services. In all honesty, PackBackBooks seems like they're making a promising run with this strategy -- we'll be watching them.

We're in total agreement that the pricing structure of textbooks is totally broken. We're doing our best to fix it, but we concede that no matter what, textbooks will always be too expensive for some sub-set of students. We can only control what we control: we'll continue trying to make the best tools to buy/sell books, and/or find them at the cheapest prices.

At the end of the day, no matter what, students will continue pirating textbooks.

peaches01713 karma

Hell yeah. Totally supportive. Whether this is the pie-in-the-sky solution we need is unclear. But what's totally obvious is that there needs to be more experimentation and innovation, and less bending to traditional power structures.

Vedmedyk9 karma

My only question is, "What can I do to help?"

I am disgusted by the state of the textbook situation.

peaches0177 karma

Are you currently in college? We're always looking for more campus representatives to get the word out and help us with our on-the-ground efforts.

Feel free to PM / e-mail me-- peter -at-

pertsix7 karma


bhalp113 karma

The site is built with Ruby on Rails, deployed via Heroku, and can you be more specific with what you mean by APIs, do you mean like external services such as the ones we use from Amazon, Chegg, and the rest of the stores to fetch prices?

-Ben, tech guy

[email protected]

papers_3 karma

Why did you choose Rails? Just want to know your reasoning.

bhalp117 karma

Ruby is my favorite language and I like Rails. The same site could easily be accomplished a variety of other methods, I just played to my strengths. I'm just doing the best I can with the tools I know. Realistically the site is becoming a bit more front-end intensive and there are some ways we may change directions in the future, but I think Rails was the right call for this kind of site as a startup and based on what I was good at working with best at the time we started the project about a year ago with absolutely no idea where we would be going with it architecturally-speaking.

rebmem1 karma

As far as APIs go, I'm wondering if you guys do any messy screen scraping to find prices, or if there is an easier to use API to get prices for books more quickly and cleanly. I have a site that is forced to screen scrape data from others, and it's a terribly inefficient process

bhalp11 karma

Yeah most of the sites have a pretty rest API, and we do indeed supplement that with a pretty messy screen scraping process when needed.

So yeah, APIs are best by far and screen scraping is a nightmare if you rely on it too heavily and don't have the process extremely well maintained and architected on your side (not that I necessarily do, but constantly working on that).

chadcf1 karma

If you guys need a part time employee, I sadly have a lot of experience scraping horrible sites for prices using various ruby tools :( It is rather frustrating work especially at scale.

bhalp11 karma

PM me and let me know more about. I'm not sure whether need more tech help or not at this very moment, but we would gladly hear more.

Cho-Chang6 karma

Go Wes!

peaches0177 karma

Aw yeah!

AlexHatesMe2 karma

Just found my $250 book for 30 bucks! I'll definitely use your site in the future and will spread the word to people I know!

bhalp13 karma

Even Alex?

shat932 karma

Why can I not use this service from Canada?

bhalp15 karma

Well you can use the service from Canada, but yes, our prices are American ones. I am working on the Canadian pricing features (and log in features, which are also a bit of an issue). But I am from Canada, attended Mount Allison University in New Brunswick. I feel your pain and I am working on it. I just moved to the states a year ago.

-Ben tech guy

[email protected]

helloimbenlinus2 karma


bhalp13 karma

I also have a stonecutters tattoo above my right butt cheek if you needed any more reason to swoon.

But I do have a wonderful girlfriend. Was I supposed to say that?

So I will have to respectfully decline your advances but you may fantasize about me if you so please.

If you want to bag a man of my quality, I suggest embracing seasons 1 and 2. They are truly just as classic as 3-8.

jaymun2 karma

Excuse me, Mr /u/bhalp1, on the itchy and scratchy CD rom is there a way to get out of the dungeon without using the wizards key?

bhalp12 karma

What the hell are you talking about?

live2bshiv2 karma

What are some things you've realized about the textbook exchange business that you didn't know a year ago?

peaches0172 karma

Oh man, so many... This idea has been tried hundreds of times. One article calls it a "stupid frat boy business idea."

  • Textbook exchanges are really hard because of the network effect issue. Chicken/egg. How do you get sellers when you don't have buyers; how do you get buyers when you don't have sellers?

We've addressed this problem by always trying to fulfill the "supply side." Even where there are no student deals, we'll price-compare the top retailers to ensure that you'll have a good experience. In startup lingo, they call it "single user utility." By ensuring value for a single user at a single school, we've found some success where most exchanges (immediately) fall flat.

Additionally, students are lazy. We previously listed the seller's e-mail on the site, and assumed most students would go ahead and contact them for the book they wanted. For many, too much work. Now, it's a one-click process to e-mail directly from the site.

In the same vein, it has to be a frictionless experience to add your books for sale. Too many sites request Title, Author, Keywords, etc. etc. We provide a simple search bar so you can quickly add books.

This advice probably goes for most business -- not just textbook exchanges -- but ensure that you are ALWAYS giving the people what they want. We wasted time creating a really robust site that just had too much fluff and self-congratulation. Stay focused on the core service, and you'll be rewarded.

Bansquirt2 karma


peaches0177 karma

Hmm, it's really hard to tell. I think the future of sophisticated, multi-featured digital "textbooks" is a bright one. Imagine getting direct feedback while you're learning, where the platform identifies where you're getting confused, quizzes you along the way, explains things through rich multimedia, etc.

That said, (and maybe I'm biased as an English major), I see significant value in the physical interaction with a book itself. I know, for instance, that I can often remember passages and facts by trying to recall where on the page a piece of information was. I worry you'd lose this if you went fully-digital.

I guess I'm bullish in the longterm, but I think that any shift will be slower than the futurologists would have us believe. After all, professors tend to be stuck in their ways, and (most) colleges are fairly slow to embrace new technologies.

lula24882 karma


lula24881 karma

Would you mind editing that link into the description of your post, please?

peaches0171 karma

Yep, you got it.

dcsportshero2 karma

How feasible would it be for you to partner with a school? Let's say I had a group of 90 students that want to avoid using the bookstore-
If the group submitted a mass order to you (90 students, 6 books each), what would be the expected turnaround time? Or would you not be able to accurate predict the turnaround time because you do not physically have the books?

peaches0171 karma

Hmm, we haven't really explored negotiating bulk deals. My honest answer is that it wouldn't help all that much. Even with a fairly significant "buying group," I don't think you'd have the leverage to negotiate bulk deals.

This is definitely an interesting question, though, and I'll make a note to do some more research and shoot you a PM if I learn anything useful.

edit: me and /u/bhalp1 were just discussing this in our office so he's going to chime in

bhalp11 karma

I actually have had thoughts about this (clearly I have kept them to myself), but my thought is that this kind of thing will work once we can hit on the right technological way to enable it. I totally agree with the premise and this is a "direction" we are thinking in, but at this point it is one thing at a time and we are trying to not let our focus wander in too many directions.

Thanks for the input.

-Ben tech guy

[email protected]

dcsportshero1 karma

awesome, just shot you an email.

bhalp11 karma

Cool, just responded. Again, thanks for the support.

ciociosanvstar1 karma

I have some thoughts for you regarding doing business directly with publishers. I can’t speak for the giants (Pearson, Haughton-Mifflin, McGraw-Hill) but the smaller publishers aren’t thrilled about our largest distribution partners being campus bookstores. There is a tendency to overbuy and then to flood the market with surplus books that drive the used book prices unreasonably low.

We (publishers generally) would be thrilled to work with you on bulk deals.

If the group submitted a mass order to you (90 students, 6 books each), what would be the expected turnaround time? Or would you not be able to accurate predict the turnaround time because you do not physically have the books?

This is GOLD for us. We could get that order to any school in the US within about a week. Many companies charge a drop ship fee (fee for shipping directly to the end user from our warehouse, above and beyond standard shipping fees) but those can be waived. The larger bookstore chains (Barnes and Noble, Follett) usually get the books for 60% of MSRP. Smaller independent bookstores are paying 66%, Amazon gets away with about 45%. You can negotiate yourself a nice margin, with good prices to your customers, in the 50-60% range.

Call us. Call publishers and explain that you're a start-up distributor. Emphasize your smallness. With any luck, you'll be assigned to a salesperson who is really working to post numbers and is willing to make a deal with a new company. Tell them that you have an order in hand, that you would like a big discount, and that you want the drop ship fee to be waived. Fight us on those points until we relent (we will, it's easier to make a deal than to fight you.)

peaches0171 karma

Sending you a PM! Thanks so much for chiming in -- this is really interesting / exciting.

Etab2 karma

Peter, I've known you for a long time through the Internet -- I don't have anything to ask, but I want to congratulate you and your team on your success!

peaches0171 karma

Etab! Of course, great to hear from you. I'll always remember NP as where I started my journey into online businesses. You're not doing too bad yourself ;)

zentrix7182 karma

Hi Peaches,

Great website! It looks absolutely fantastic, and I wish it had been around when I was in college!

  • What is your take on non-paper text books?
  • Can you see expanding away from just paper into other teaching aids?
  • How do you see the future of open-source text books?

My dad started an online geometry text book about five years ago, and it has been slowly gaining popularity in an actual classroom setting due to its interactivity and the fact that it can be updated on the spot when errors are discovered or sections don't make sense.

I was wondering what your position on non-traditional text books were. With the growing popularity of putting tablets and chromebooks in schools, are they going to be around all that longer?

I noticed you mention that the long term goal was to help facilitate open-source text books, and I really hope these take off. I was wondering what kind of changes need to be made in order to let something like these thrive more readily in today's world.

Thanks for the response!

peaches0173 karma

Great, great questions!

What is your take on non-paper textbooks?

I think there's no doubt that the growing shift is towards e-books. It's somewhat of an inevitability. I like to say that professors are "agents of inertia" and loathe to change, but it's fairly inarguable that the shift is coming. I'm hopeful that e-textbooks are rolled out in a fashion that fixes the price somewhat closely to the cost of distribution (very low). I don't have a major problem with students paying for content creation, but I find it insanely frustrating that students are usually forced to pay middleman-margins and/or one-time access fees. I guess that I'm excited about the shift, because I hope will have etched a position as a trusted source of information about educational materials of all kinds. Because we're small and nimble, I trust we'll find opportunities to "do well by doing good."

Can you see expanding away form just paper into other teaching aids?

Definitely. We already list e-books, and have previously integrated with a company called Boundless, which creates open-source textbooks and associated study guides. As we continue to mature, we'd like to cross-list additional study guides, notecards, teaching aids, etc., with our book listings.

How do you see the future of open-source textbooks?

I think it's very exciting, and it's probably the silver bullet that will even this playing field once and for all. Boundless just settled a big lawsuit against three publishers who were claiming that they were infringing on their trademarks.

I'm hoping that proves to be a monumental case in paving the way for more open source textbooks. Fundamentally, we believe that access to educational materials should be free (or very low cost). One might say that this will kill our business model, but I'm sure we'll figure out a way to be nimble and continue doing our thing. We try, very sincerely, to make sure we're always putting the student first. Plus, since we're only two years out ourselves, it's hard to think differently.

ragingjusticeboner1 karma

I teach college cell biology and the current text book is ~$250 plus a ~$80 supplement. How can you help my students bring their costs down?

peaches0171 karma

Can you let me know what book you're assigning? One easy answer would be to supply your students with a link.

Protip, you can type any book name (or ISBN) into the following URL structure to quickly bring up the book in question--

IE: Their Permission

ragingjusticeboner1 karma

I'll follow up, but the text book is Molecular Biology of the Cell, by Alberts et al.

peaches0172 karma

Also let your students know that they can toggle over to the "buyback" tab when they're ready to sell!

cjmorris1 karma

The problem with the text book industry where I go to school is that my school has specific textbooks only for our school. For example: I have the Syracuse University addition of my Earth Science lab manual. When I go to sell it after the semester I can only sell it to one of my classmates or back to the school (which is a rip off). For the textbooks that are not specifically for the University we usually have to buy an online access code which also hurts financially and is a bit of a ripoff in my opinion because you can't sell back an access code. How does work with these issues?

peaches0172 karma

This is definitely an issue. We don't have a good answer for the online access code. If you have any ideas, please do let us know.

Our site is a free student exchange, so hopefully we're able to make it easier to sell your Syracuse-specific book to the people in your community. But agreed, most of our across-the-board buyback tools won't be able to help you in that regard.

Expired_Bacon1 karma

Did I make it in time for this AMA?

peaches0173 karma


Expired_Bacon1 karma

God damn it!

peaches0171 karma

;) What would you like to know?

Expired_Bacon1 karma

I'm not even sure what to ask this is the first time I've made it this far in an AMA.

I guess I'd just like to thank you for trying to cut the cost of getting an education.

bhalp11 karma

Thanks for coming! If you have a question come to mind later, just PM us. We basically hang out on Reddit most of the day anyway.

-Ben tech guy

[email protected]

Anaslex691 karma

Mr.Peaches where is based? Where are you folks located?

peaches0171 karma


jorge1 karma

May I ask when was the site launched and how much traffic does it have?

peaches0174 karma

We actually have a unique launch story. I went back to my alma mater, Wesleyan University, and gave away 60 pizzas on 4/20. Everyone was blazing on the hill, and then there was just a stampede of hungry zombies descending on the pizza.

Traffic is very seasonal, so I don't have a great answer. On peak textbook buying days (beginning of the semester), we have thousands and thousands of unique visitors. On any given day, in the middle of the semester, we have hardly any appreciable traffic. Seasonality has been one of our biggest challenges.

threelorn2 karma

Not to mention all that food given during Finals week. Thanks so much guys!

peaches0172 karma

Thank you! At the risk of coming across as fake / smarmy, there's no way we'd be here without the support of the Wesleyan student body. Every platform needs a proof-of-concept market to work out the bugs, and everyone was patient as we pushed forward with our launch (on a very buggy / over-complicated site).

schrodingers_frog1 karma

I was there on foss, that was awesome :D Thanks for that!

peaches0171 karma

I love it, Wes kids coming out of the woodwork. Come by next time I'm on campus and say whattup. I'll have Sriracha :)

FreeRefills1 karma

How much of your advertising budget went towards all those pizzas last year on Zonker?

btw thanks for the sriracha and solo cups at the beginning of the year

peaches0173 karma

4/20 pizza budget... let's see: 30 of them were from Nino's, and they cut us a good deal. 20 from Mondo's, since they did gluten free. And 10 from It's Only Natural. I think it was roughly $600 and change (a little over $10/pie) when all was said and done. I really wanted to support local businesses and not try to just hit up multiple Domino's franchises.

Solo Cups are insanely cheap. Costco has got that market on lock. I have about 2,000 cups still sitting in my storage unit in Middletown. Hit me up next time I'm on campus and I'll give you a massive sleeve. They're like $10 for 500 cups.

Sriracha was a bit harder to negotiate. I made friends with M2M market here in NYC, and the manager gave me a solid bulk deal. If memory serves, it was something like $2.50/small bottle, which is close to their cost.

Go Wes!

ElliottG1 karma

How much did the domain cost?

sambravers1 karma

Isn't this service, aside from the trading side, very similar, if not the same, as slugbooks?

peaches0171 karma

Definitely very, very similar. Other good sites like Slugbooks are BigWords and There are more.

In addition to our student exchange -- which is our main differentiator -- we'll be adding Project Gutenberg listings, as well as recommendations for older/international editions.

Nassive1 karma

What do you think it'll really take to change the idea of people/teachers able to exploit students with textbooks?

peaches0172 karma

Near-term: more cooperation in buying/selling books between students. Better information about past editions suitability to assigned editions. Wider adoption of international editions.

Medium-term: a better platform for e-books. In all honesty, PackBackBooks might be onto something here.

Long-term: open-source textbooks. Flatworld Knowledge, Boundless, etc. are some cool companies doing things in the space. Until the existing top-down power structure is toppled (publishers), the landscape won't be dramatically jolted.

MockingbirdRambler1 karma

How do you feel about companies and curriculums demanding that you buy an online acess code where homework and classwork is done, and jumping the price up to 80 or 100 dollars?

I personally did not buy my chem book, but I had to pay an 80 dollar fee to be able to compleat homework.

peaches0175 karma

This is absolutely ridiculous, and it's one of the biggest impediments to a healthy exchange. One-time access codes are totally absurd, and go against the spirit of the Higher Education Opportunity Act.

It makes sense why publishers are trying this-- they don't take part in the lucrative used textbook marketplace. But it's almost bordering on comicbook super-villain status, and I really hope legislation is passed, or added to the HEOA which stems these tactics.

ciociosanvstar1 karma

There are a lot of companies doing some version of what you do, including some that you link to in your search. One of the really frustrating things about this (for the consumer) is that we end up visiting several different sites in search of a business that actually stocks and can ship the book we're looking for.

I must say that your interface is far slicker than most of your competition, but you're still acting as a conduit between the customer and the businesses that are actually stocking and selling product. What problem do you actually solve? Why do you deserve a cut of my purchase?

peaches0171 karma

So I guess the short (and unsatisfying) answer is that we deserve a cut precisely because we're "slicker." But that's not really what you're after.

We also host a free student exchange, where you could find listings posted by the people at your campus. That way, we have an exclusive set of inventory that our competitors don't. In addition, we're going to be including Project Gutenberg listings, and working hard to add features that show suitable older editions, as well as suitable international editions.

I'd agree that, at this point, we're largely just a conduit, but I think that it's a fair place to start. The key defining feature of our startup is that we're totally student-first and transparent. If you can find a student deal, you'll spend less and the seller will earn far more -- at this point, that's really our secret sauce.

Appreciate your feedback, and feel free to let me know if I need a better answer to this question. It sounds like you have good ideas around the problem.

ciociosanvstar1 karma

I'm emailing Ben!

peaches0171 karma

You are a champ. Please also feel free to chime in at /r/textsdotcom -- we read and respond to every suggestion / comment.

12potato41 karma

Hey you guys sent me an autographed book a few months ago and I told you to draw the most American picture.


Thanks again!

peaches0171 karma

Thanks for chiming in, and glad you enjoyed the drawing!

thatsmyaibo1 karma

This is a copy and paste from the other AMA but I still want to know which model could really beat this.

Many publishers are adopting a pay per chapter model. My current accounting book allows me to download and KEEP the chapter I buy for $7 which works out because we are only using half of the book this semester. Why would renting the book for $5/day be better?

peaches0171 karma

Wow, at the risk of embarrassing myself here, I have just never heard about this. Would you mind providing a bit more info? That sounds like a great deal for the student.

thatsmyaibo1 karma

Here is a link to my current textbook for that class.

It is a great deal. We are only using 12 chapters this semester so it doesn't make sense to buy the whole book. I don't get the advantage of selling a used book but with all of the editions they publish to edge out used book sales, this is the cheapest option and I can spread out the cost over the term of the semester.

EDIT: Thanks for the gold! =)

peaches0171 karma

Thanks so much. We're actually already partnered with CengageBrain, so I think we might be able to offer this functionality. We'll definitely be looking into this more closely. Again, this could be a game-changer for students. Enjoy :)

Iron_Horse641 karma

Websites like this have saved me hundreds of dollars over the past few semesters. What makes your site different from similar ones such as

peaches0172 karma

Fundamentally, we're not all that different. I'd argue we have a better user experience, but that's all subjective.

Here are a few differences--

  • We host a free student exchange, in addition to "just" price-comparison
  • We are going to integrate international listings and Project Gutenberg links
  • In the ~15 months I've followed BigWords, I haven't seen any major improvements / updates. So to that end, I'd argue that we're more nimble and willing to try new things to really respond to user feedback and make sure they're getting the best possible experience.

niller8p0 karma

Are you hiring?

peaches0171 karma

We're definitely hiring interns, not full-time positions currently. Drop me a line to peter -at- with some more info so that we can chat.

franky_h0 karma

Do you think that eventually (decades from now) the paradigm of having kids attend lectures will switch to digital education with recitation? I just picture kids in 2030 taking all their classes on a tablet under a tree, then visiting with the teacher once a week to ask any questions.

peaches0172 karma

Actually, it's already starting to happen. The "flipped classroom" model is getting a lot of positive feedback and momentum. In a nutshell, students watch their lectures before class, and then use the old "lecture" time to talk about things that confused them, and/or work on their problem sets where their teacher can assist.

Trippze0 karma

how much did you pay for the texts domain name