Satellite Orbiting Earth

Product/Service Name

Book.ly

Brief Description

Like Kayak searches airlines, book.ly scans prices across reputable textbook renters and vendors, showing all of the prices and purchasing options available online within seconds. Equipped with school specific information for over 1500 colleges and universities, book.ly allows students to search by course for the books they need and instantly find the best deals online – saving them time and money. Students at schools not yet supported by book.ly may search by Title, Author, or ISBN. Students may also sell their used books directly to vendors, making selling textbooks easy by eliminating the time required to find an interested customer.

Target audience: College students

Book.ly

Book.ly

The Inspiration

For years, students looking to save have spent hours online looking for the best deals, while others go to the bookstore and pay the premium for convenience. Founded as a result of a desperate and ongoing need to save money on textbooks, book.ly offers students an easy to understand platform to quickly find the best deals from sites that are selling the books they need or buying the books they have. Shopping for books online has never been faster, easier, or smarter!

Key Features

  • Textbook Price Comparison. Immediately compare prices for specific textbooks across multiple online retailers, including eBay, Half, Amazon, AbeBooks, and Alibris.
  • Search by School. Search for books by choosing your class. Alternatively, search for individual books by author, title, or ISBN.
  • Sell Used Books. Sell used textbooks to vendors rather than looking for individual buyers for individual books.

Benefits

College students can save both time and money by going to a single location to search for their textbooks. The school-specific information for over 1500 colleges and universities makes searching even easier.

Costs

There are no costs related to using the Book.ly service to find textbooks to buy, other than the purchase price for the books themselves.

Similar Products/Services

Other textbook comparison shopping sites include BookFinder.com, BestWebBuys.com/Books, and BigWords.com, though none offer the school integration offered by Book.ly.

Opinions from around the Web

  • Positive. “It is a great idea, and if the claim of up to 60% saving is true, then it there is money to be saved by having a look into it.” (Appatic)
  • Positive. “With its simple model developed by students, it is easy to find what you are looking for, quickly.” (CollegeDrop)
  • Neutral. “College students need no reminder of how much they need to budget for textbooks. Still, fewer than 20% of college students shop online for textbooks, even though this is by far the most cost effective option. Even students that do shop online, don’t save as much as they could because they don’t compare the prices among various vendors. book.ly is trying to change that. We are the solution to make online shopping quick and efficient.” (DiscoveringStartups)

Company Background

Founded in 2009 in response to the outrageous costs of college textbooks, book.ly provides a vital service to students and readers alike: a simple platform to help to save money when buying books. Whether it’s an eBook, a rental, or the real McCoy, our goal is to make buying and selling books easier, faster, and more cost effective.

Giveaway and Other Information

Book.ly is giving away a free semester of textbooks. Any students who “like” the Facebook page and purchase their books with book.ly qualify.

Many improvements are in the works for the next semester. Book.ly is actively recruiting leaders on campus to assist with these efforts.

Smartlife’s User Advice

Textbooks for college and university can be very expensive. While it may be more convenient to simply buy all your textbooks from the campus bookstore, this is likely the most expensive route as well. By planning ahead and using the Book.ly service, you can save a lot of money. The school integration is a great feature that separates it from other comparison shopping sites.

Smartlife’s Recommendation: USE IT

Image credit: cristimatei / iStockphoto

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Product Watch is part of an on-going series that cuts through the sales propaganda and marketing hype, and reviews products and services from the standpoint of the user and how they actually help us get more out of life.