This post was written by Senior Staff Writer Matt Rist.
A sophomore fed up with sky-high textbook prices has created a Web site to take the guesswork out of finding textbooks at cheaper, online retailers.
At first glance, gwbookstore.com might seem like an average online textbook price comparison tool, but sophomore Farhan Daredia’s new site allows students to enter their course number and instantly shop for textbooks through dozens of online retailers, including Chegg and half.com.
“I was annoyed when I was buying my books that I had to look up the book and then go to another site to find it,” Daredia said, who spent months compiling his own course directory to connect students with the correct textbooks without having to check with the eFollett bookstore.
Since the site’s debut earlier this month, Daredia said the site – which is similar to other GW-based price-comparison sites that have popped up in the past – has received 2,800 page views just through word of mouth.
“People have really taken to it,” Daredia said. “We started out just calling my friends and having them call their friends.”
It’s the word-of-mouth advertising that convinced sophomore Alex Wright to try the new resource and save more than $100 in textbooks this semester alone.
“I’ve purchased books through the eFollett bookstore before and you basically have to sell an arm and a leg because it’s so expensive,” Wright said. “I think it’s a great thing that the site is up there because maybe it will force the regular bookstore to get its stuff together and start lowering prices.”
Wright said the site was easy to use, but may fall behind the regular bookstore in updates to courses and textbooks.
“It’s not as up to date as the regular bookstore,” Wright said. “But they try their best and respond quickly to any sort of problems.”
Daredia said he has plans to offer a buyback service through the site in the future and hopes to expand advertising.
“We’re working on setting up something for buyback where people could get much better prices than from the bookstore,” Daredia said.
For now, Daredia said he is happy to offer students an alternative to the GW Bookstore.
“It’s really just about fighting against the bookstore monopoly,” Daredia said. “It’s helping students save money.”