GrilledBooks is an initiative started by two university students in an effort to help students afford textbooks for college.
It’s an interactive website that allows students and professors to post books to trade or sell.
The site was started as a UConn Senior design project by Computer Science Engineering major Denis Ivanov. His partner in development is CSE major, Junior Tom Farnham.
The project is 6 months in the making and should take another six months before the site goes live.
The address is GrilledBooks.com
What it is:
Grilled Books search results with course title:
What it’s about:
The site was started when a disgruntled Ivanov was unhappy with the current options to buy and sell books.
His objective was to alleviate the cost of attending college and make finding cheaper books as easy as possible.
“ W h en you think about it, it makes perfect sense. We all take the same courses; the books are the same,” said Ivanov
The university options are what Ivanov is not happy with.
UConn, as well as other colleges and universities in the area are offering:
Textbook buy backs
and offering used textbooks at lowered prices
Why university options aren’t good enough for some:
“ I’ve actually gone halvsies with another student for a textbook and we share because it was upwards of $200, so I think it’d be worth checking out,” said UConn Psychology major Damien Cusanelli.
“ S t arting my first semester, I bought a book that cost me $225. I saw then that UConn was double-dipping in my pockets between tuition and textbooks,” said GriledBooks co-creator Tom Farnham.
“ T h e most expensive textbook I had to purchase was $170 and I only got 65% of that when I sold it back to the bookstore. And I haven’t even heard of textbook renting at this branch, ” said UConn History major Greg Corbu.
Options outside of UConn:
The site will start off as being geo-bound to a particular campus and the Beta version will be specifically for UConn students.
Ivanov, however, hopes to connect with other universities in the area and, with time, potentially universities worldwide.
Including other colleges and universities would involve electronically crawling the course listing and bookstores of the school and the site would update itself on its own to include new titles.
How it works:
The design and interaction of the site are simple.
The user enters the course code, or course title, or the textbooks ISBN number to see if anyone on the site is willing to trade or sell.
The user can also post their own book codes to show what they no longer need and are willing to give away/sell/trade/
The option to enter textbook information via one’s iPhone or Android and receive a text message in return with the availability of the text is currently in development.
Grilled Books search results with ISBN number:
The nature of the site:
The site won’t have banners or ads.
The goal of the site is to helps students share, not sell or make a profit.
GrilledBooks.com focuses on extremely simple function to optimize ease of use. Basically, the fewer clicks to one’s destination, the better.
Opportunity for Feedback:
Much like the rest of the open-source web development community, GrilledBooks relies on feedback from users to check on issues and work on improvements for the site.
The point of the site is to bypass the co-op and the university and have students and professors working interactively with one another.
Emphasis on Technology:
Another goal is to utilize technology to the best of their ability. Ivanov and Farnham have made the site smart phone friendly.
Each textbook has a unique ISBN number and a unique barcode.
Each barcode, when broken down into a readable form, is translated into the unique ISBN number.
On the Android phone, there is a built-in scanner than scans the barcode and identifies the unique ISBN number.
GrilledBooks has an application that detects this information from the user’s phone, take the information and crawls the site electronically to see if the title is available on the site.
The following slides demonstrate.
Future of GrilledBooks.com:
There is no official launch date, but the site is anticipated to go live mid-May of 2011.
The site will not, however, be “finished” as the nature of the project is to be under constant construction and development.
Ivanov can be reached for further information at [email_address]