Info: We're Russell Brooks, Will Kennedy, and Dave Smith. We're trying to save students the time, money, and frustration that often comes with getting books from a book store or online. Novel lets you use your phone to quickly list books you're trying to sell, search for books you're trying to buy, and chat with other users to close the deal.

Proof: Check out our website or like us on Facebook for more info!

Comments: 22 • Responses: 9  • Date: 

courage_my_friends8 karma

Yo homies it's Nick, congrats on the app!

So it seems obvious to me that for Novel to succeed it needs to reach a certain number of users in physical proximity with each other so that a. people have a reasonable chance of finding the books they're looking for and b. the exchange is geographically feasible. Do you guys have a plan for reaching that critical mass (I assume by the end of summer, since the beginning of the semester is peak textbook market time)? What's the draw for people to use the app before that threshold is reached?

NovelTextbooks6 karma

Hey, Nick! Thanks for the questions. Our plan to reach that critical mass is to focus on one school/area at a time. It'd be great if it exploded everywhere all at once, but for now we want to get it up and running in one area, and move from there.

Until then, we're hoping that the app is simple enough that it doesn't take too much time to use. It only takes a moment to list a book, and you can leave it there until someone reaches out to you.

courage_my_friends5 karma

That makes sense. Where are you hoping to push early adoption? I'd suggest doing targeted AMAs in subreddits like /r/UniversityofKentucky if your goal is to grow in a particular area. What sort of promotion do you intend to do?

NovelTextbooks3 karma

The sooner we can get books listed the better, and that's a great idea! We have some plans to spread word around campus: visiting various student organizations, branching out over other digital media platforms, etc.

meest5 karma

As a current student, more and more of my core class/generals textbooks are becoming specific editions to my specific college and then they add on an online code that is also needed. So buying used textbooks are usually never an option for me except for a few teachers that still use old editions or don't rely on online homework.

How much has this shift to counter apps like yours actually affected used book sales?

Also I'm with the other guy in that a website/android version would be smart... A website more so, as I'm usually never looking up books on my phone. I have to have my school's class portal open to find the isbn and then I'm copying and pasting that into the various bookstore and Amazon sites to find the cheapest option.

NovelTextbooks3 karma

Thanks for reaching out! To be honest, we're not sure how the university-specific books will affect our usage. We just launched in January, so we don't have a lot to compare to.

One thing we are looking to do is get access to other sites like Amazon, Chegg, Barnes and Noble (who own most U.S. school bookstores) so that if a search doesn't return any results from our users, we can show them some other options. Hopefully this would help make our app more attractive for people in that situation.

As far as a website goes, we think that would be really cool! Ultimately, the more ways students can connect through our service the better it is for everyone.

Swazniack4 karma

Hey guys! As a freshman in college as if next August, this app definitely can be super helpful for me.

  1. Is an Android/Web version in development.

  2. How do you generate profit with the app? Are there any plans to add an in app payment system?

What's your third favorite color?

I also write for a tech/entrepreneur site. Could you PM me so that I could ask you a few more questions?

NovelTextbooks2 karma

Thanks for the questions!

  1. We have not started developing an Android/Web version yet - but if the app gets some traction then we definitely will!

  2. Making money off the app is not our priority - we just want to save students money. We do hope to add an in-app payment system eventually, among other things. For now we're just trying to build our user base.

  3. #45a950

McClouds4 karma

What would you ask any 2016 US Presidential Candidates if given the chance?

NovelTextbooks1 karma

What their policy is to reform outrageous textbook prices.

But really... Tits or ass?

RatedRGamer3 karma

Are you guys confident you'll expand? Yes or No

NovelTextbooks4 karma

We hope it takes off and we think that it has the potential to take off, but we aren't confident. It's a fun project for us, but we probably don't have the resources to ramp it up as big as it needs to be. But stuff like this always helps! Thanks for the question!

MamaJumba2 karma

How long did it take for you guys to create the app from scratch? And how was the validation process like? Thank you!

NovelTextbooks1 karma

Thanks for your interest!

Russell here - I did all of the app development over 6 months or so. Mostly it was on weekends or late at night on weekdays as I've been working a full-time software engineering job since graduating.

I would say validation was primarily an iterative process that went hand-in-hand with development of new features along the way. As major milestones were reached we used Apple's TestFlight ( to help beta test with other people. From there it's just a matter of finding bugs, fixing, testing, rinse + repeat :)

I'd also add on lots and lots of reading as part validation and best practices. We've used Parse ( for all of our backend infrastructure and they have great documentation and engineering blog posts especially with regards to security/scalability.

lula24881 karma

Hi NovelTextbooks, your post has been removed because:

You have not provided adequate proof within a reasonable amount of time. Please see the /r/IAmA sidebar for posting guidelines. Thank you!

Please contact the mods if you need further assistance

NovelTextbooks1 karma

Sorry there wasn't enough proof! Is there any way to add more proof (we can link to a tweet or Facebook post) and get it back up? Also, why were we not warned? We would have gladly added more proof if we needed more. Last time we linked or website and Twitter and that seemed to be enough.

lula24881 karma

If you could put a new post on your facebook page about this AMA, that would work. thanks.

NovelTextbooks2 karma

We just posted! Here it is.