Are you a veteran of Chegg, every Facebook textbook exchange, and all the second hand bookstores this town has to offer? Well, you may just find your next textbook savings destination as close as your pocket. Tripp Whalen, a third year studying International Relations and Management, has teamed up with fourth year Economics student Amit Kochar and Strathclyde computer science graduate Sean Kennedy to make your assigned reading shopping convenient, quick, and available right next to your Instagram.
Mr Whalen, who came up with the idea and recruited his two friends through equity offers for the marketing and development, says that on the free app Pages 4 Pints, “you select your uni and courses and [the app] provides you a list of students selling those books on our app, then sellers and buyers meet up or we deliver the book. We take a small percentage of the sale price as profit.”
Post-purchase,“the screen tells you the amount of money you saved and how many pints at your union that translates to,” adds Mr Whalen, a feature that is most certainly unique to Pages 4 Pints.
While the aforementioned methods show that textbook exchanges are popping up everywhere, Mr Whalen feels that his app is different. “[Students] want to get the things they need cheap and without hassle. Amazon takes a big cut and means you have to ship, whereas this is so much more immediate. Facebook groups aren’t as purpose driven and Chegg involves shipping, which is a hassle that students want to avoid.”
So, what’s next? “Promotion,” Mr Whalen emphasises. “That’s why apps with good intentions fail: a lack of good marketing.” Of course, the three developers will have to deal with some limitations, like a “cyclical” popularity at the beginning and end of each semester.
Still, Mr Whalen is aiming high. “The plan is to slowly incorporate other universities, which will mean getting on the ground at other schools sometimes to raise awareness.” At the moment, Mr Whalen funds app purchases like the App Store logo, but the app’s profitability is low on his list of concerns. “We are students trying to make an app to make students lives better and if we make some money along the way, so be it.”
The app debuts Freshers’ Week, so keep your eyes peeled for the next best way to go back to school shopping.