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Saturday, September 20, 2014
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(Special to the American Press)<br>

(Special to the American Press)

Startup textbook exchange network meant to ‘empower college students’

Last Modified: Thursday, December 05, 2013 3:43 PM

By Lance Traweek / American Press

A McNeese State University student is seeking $30,000 for his startup, Bookstoop — an online textbook exchange network for college students.

Ben Nguyen, who is minoring in entrepreneurship, hopes the money will fund the Bookstoop Mobile App prototype and the full launch of the Bookstoop.com exchange platform.

In June, Nguyen won the community division of the McNeese Business Pitch Competition and has been part of the Southwest Louisiana Entrepreneurial and Economic Development Center business incubator since August.

On average, college students spend $600-$1,200 on textbooks, he said, adding that they are too expensive.

“As a student I really understand that is a rip-off,” Nguyen said. “Actually the textbook market is broken and unusual. We the students don’t have the power to choose textbooks because the professor chooses the textbooks, and they don’t pay for the textbooks. The high prices don’t affect their decisions on which books to use.”

He added that the bargain power is taken away from the student, leaving publishers at a disproportionate advantage to charge whatever they want. Bookstoop is the solution to empower college students, he said.

“It’s a new platform where college students can connect with each other and buy and sell textbooks directly to each other,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to save a lot of money.”

He said students can get significantly more money back that way than through the campus bookstore buy-back programs. The website is also designed to trade notes, study guides and teacher recommendations.

Other business incubator clients have been helping him with the fundraising through a commercial.

“It’s great to see clients of the SEED Center from diverse backgrounds pooling resources and collaborating to see each other succeed,” said Matthew Lundmark, of Gogogrocer — another business in the incubator.

Lundmark and his business partner, Tyson Queen, have backgrounds in marketing. Daniel Edwards of Sun Funnel Media has experience in film, and Nguyen has experience in computer programming.

“We were all able to help each other in this endeavor and will likely seek support from other clients first when we need,” Lundmark said.

Anyone who wants to help the startup can visit Bookstoop.com for more details.

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