It happens to students at the beginning of every semester: hours upon hours of scouring the Internet for the best prices on outrageously expensive textbooks. The process is long, frustrating and often fruitless. A new website – started by two Geneseo seniors – is looking to turn that torturous process into a quick, easy way to save money.
Geneseo seniors Jeff Singer and Ryan Lockenvitz created the idea for Pricemysemester.com while on campus this past summer. "We were trying to think of what students needed and textbooks have always been so expensive," Singer said.
"The basic idea is that students can come to our website, type in their classes and see which books are required for that class and prices for those books at a large selection of online vendors," Lockenvitz said. The website also helps students to save money by providing sales coupons and special discounts to several of their vendors, including Chegg.com.
The beauty of the site, apart from the potential to save money, is its simplicity. Upon accessing the site's homepage, students are given the option of searching for books both by name and by the course to which they correspond. "The process is made easier because students don't need the ISBN number of the book, just the name," said Lockenvitz.
Once a student enters the necessary information into the search box, a menu descends that lists the possible rental and purchasing options, in price order from cheapest to the most expensive. From there, a student can follow the provided link directly to the most appealing retailer. "People still think that Amazon is the best place, but you can actually save a good amount of money from some of our other vendors," Lockenvitz said.
So far, the website has been met with rave reviews. "I've had people that I don't really know stop me and thank me. It's been a pretty positive reaction so far," Singer said.
Despite the applause, however, not as many students have utilized the site as Singer and Lockenvitz would like. "We only hit a few hundred kids last semester and they all loved it so we're just trying to spread the word throughout the entire campus," Singer said. At this point, "spreading the word" is done mostly by word of mouth around campus, on their Facebook page and through a series of fliers posted around campus.
Increasing Pricemysemester.com's popularity at Geneseo is only one way that the site can expand and spread. "Beyond Geneseo, we are looking at the idea of expanding this same basic concept to other college campuses," Singer said. Another idea currently in the works is "a similar function for comparing how much money you could get by selling your book back to various places," Singer added.