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The Mass Media

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February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Textbook Alternative

Books
Books

 

 

 

Jonathan Simkin knows how hard getting a decent price for your old school books can be. So after graduating from Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, Cal. with a Bachelors of Science in Engineering, he started SwoopThat LLC. You can find it online at swoopthat.com.

Simkin’s company offers students a free service that can save them a substantial amount of money on textbooks. A student need only visit swoopthat.com, type in the name of their school and required courses, and swoopthat.com automatically finds what book the students needs and all the vendors that are selling them. The goal is to make it easy for students to find the cheapest seller.

Simkin said, “Textbooks are extremely expensive and I figured there had to be a better way. We developed all our systems from scratch. They operate much like Google’s do in their web scanning function.”

On November 30, 2011 swoopthat.com began offering a different service to students, creating a new inexpensive textbook buying option: the student-to-student textbook exchange service.

Students who supply swoopthat.com with their name and email can be connected to other students studying at the same university as they are. Through email the students can organize their own transactions.

SwoopThat’s network has grown to over 14.2 million students at over 2,500 universities, colleges, and private high schools nationwide, including UMB.

Simkin’s company is small, only three full-time employees, but he expects it to grow based on the phenomenal response the site has garnered from students and parents.

“Our ultimate goal is to fundamentally change the way students buy textbooks,” said Simkin. “We want to generate price transparency and make it so the school, the stores, and the students win. We achieve this by partnering both with the bookstores and the online vendors. The student is given the option to compare the bookstore’s price to the price of vendors like Amazon.com. If the student buys from Amazon, the bookstore will still receive a percent of that sale, in turn the universities will receive a percent of that sale; and the student still got the book for the cheapest price available.”