Independent textbook exchange comes to NYU

A new independent textbook exchange company is expanding their services to NYU this semester.

A self-described “campus exchange ecosystem,” Textbook Friend allows students to trade course materials with other students in the same university. Managed and operated by Vivek Menon, a student at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, the company’s main website Textbookfriend.com links to independent sites for different universities.

CEO and co-founder Karan Parekh said that the company allows students to correspond and directly transact with other students without an expensive middleman like a school bookstore or online seller.

Currently in use at 60 other universities including the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, the University of the Sciences and Temple University, the company first launched at the University of Pennsylvania in November 2012.

Parekh explained that NYU’s prestige attracted the company as it considered its next site of expansion.

“Not only is NYU one of the largest universities in the nation, it is also one of the most recognized and will allow us to build a national presence,” said Parekh.

LSP freshman Naphtali Brooks, Gallatin senior Justin Pinderhughes and Stern sophomore Max Wiseltier are operating the NYU chapter of Textbook Friend. Together, they will work to integrate the company into the NYU community and reach students through social media platforms.

“The end of the semester scraping-for-cash ritual, especially around the holidays, is familiar to countless students. We as college students need a service we can turn to instead of being pigeon-holed by buyback programs,” said Justin Pinderhughes, head of marketing for NYU Textbook Friend.

Naphtali Brooks, head of marketing and operations for the NYU chapter, believes that what sets Textbook Friend apart from the many available textbook exchange programs is that the company caters directly and specifically to students within one university.

“Our competitors might have similar ideas, but none of them are working directly with colleges. We are college students and we understand the needs of other college students. We are not removed from the situation, but rather are living through it on a daily basis,” Brooks said.

The site also includes a platform where students can discuss courses and professors with each other, further centralizing the academic experience for students.

NYU students welcome the new service.

“The idea will probably be really successful at NYU because students are always complaining about the tuition and the high cost of living in the city. This way, students can pay a small amount for books and make money back quickly, and not have to worry about running low on cash because of textbook costs,” said Tisch sophomore Ryan Miller.

By the end of the spring semester, Textbook Friend will have a presence in almost 40 schools nationwide, serving over 500,000 students.

Tatiana Baez is  university editor. Email her at university@nyunews.com.

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