Thanks to Book.ly, purchasing textbooks for classes just got a little easier.
There are over 500 universities listed on Book.ly — a site created in the fall of 2008 by Wharton and Engineering graduate Roman Pedan with his brother Igor.
The site allows students to compare prices for their current semester’s books among online merchants, including Amazon and Biblio.
Books are listed in order of cost, saving students time, as they no longer have to look for the best price themselves.
Roman said he began the site because he was tired of paying hundreds of dollars a semester for textbooks, yet found online shopping time consuming and slow.
“If there was something [like Book.ly] available, I would’ve been able to save, and other students too,” he said about the conception of the site.
When the site first launched, Roman said, he and his brother were contacting universities and entering prices and products book by book. Now, students reach out to them directly and request that their university be included.
A little over a year later, the site claims to be able to save students up to 40 percent on their textbooks.
Not only can students now save themselves the effort required to search online marketplaces and get their books at lower prices, they can also do some good with their purchase.
Roman explains the plan to include an increasing number of universities while getting the word out about the site.
Each school involved could partner one of its student groups with Book.ly, he said, adding that the school’s student government often acts as the liaison.
In return for providing syllabi and informing their students of the site, the partner organization receives 20 percent of the profits made from its university’s purchases to be donated to its charity of choice, Roman explained.
This way, the more students the group encourages to use Book.ly, the more funds the groups receives.
Since it is a new site, Roman hopes local campus organizations will take this option into consideration.
When asked about how freshmen in particular purchase their books, College freshman Akin Sobowale, who hadn’t heard about Book.ly, explained why students often buy at their school bookstore.
“People want a textbook as soon as possible, which is why they’ll pay the higher prices,” he said.
While cheaper deals can be found, Sobowale believes the inconvenience of scouring the internet outweighs the price advantage.
After hearing about Book.ly, Sobowale was pleased to find a cheaper way of obtaining textbooks without the hassle.
On the site, it only takes a few seconds to find and compare textbooks, Roman said. If students encounter problems, they can also refer to the help page, which has the site creators’ contact information.
College sophomore Julianne Mele always purchased her books at a bookstore, yet this semester, she tried Book.ly.
“I was surprised by its convenience and accessibility,” she said.
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