Turning Books into Bucks, Students Cash in ahead of New Semester

With each semester, students are faced with new book requirements and a checkout line at the bookstore that seems to never end. Expensive textbooks and inconvenient lines make some students feel duped.

SwoopThat.com, a website which allows students to save time and money, gives students the opportunity to buy the books they need for the best price.

Founder and CEO of SwoopThat Jonathan Simkin said the site is different from retail websites because students are able to compare different prices at the same time.

“You never know if you are getting the best price on the other websites,” Simkin said. “We’re like a combination of the other retailers. Some people call us the Kayak for textbooks.”

To save students time, SwoopThat allows students to type in their schools and courses, which then generates the textbook required for the courses. Students are able to see new, used and rental books and given the option to choose the book at the best price. SwoopThat does not limit the amount of courses a student can select.

Eduardo Torres, a second-year criminal justice student, from Quincy said the website is user-friendly.

“The website is neat. It’s easy to follow and there are a lot of different categories,” said Torres. “It’s a really organized website, which helps save time.”

Simkin said even schools that are not listed can still utilize the website.

“It won’t take students at schools not listed longer to find their books,” Simkin said. “All students need is the ISBN, author or title of the book.”

Amber Barnes, a senior nursing student, said she would have saved money throughout her college years if she had used SwoopThat.

“The books in the bookstore cost me too much money,” Barnes said. “I’ll definitely use SwoopThat from now on.”

Last Fall, SwoopThat had its official launch. The San Diego-based website now offers course information from about 2,347 schools. College graduates and founders Benjamin Carson and Simkin wanted to reduce both time and money spent in bookstores.

“We offer quick book checks. It takes you half the time on our website than it does at other online retailers,” said Simkin.

As SwoopThat becomes more popular among student Simkin said he wants to work with more schools and build on the fundraising feature the website offers. SwoopThat allows clubs and organizations to build their own fundraising website that can earn them money. The more students who purchase products through their account, the more money the organization earns back.

“It’s a completely open platform with custom branding features,” Simkin said.