A NEW “online marketplace” for students to buy and sell university books has been set up by a city student.
Jonathan Kennedy, 19, a business management student at Heriot-Watt University, began ScholarExpress as an alternative to Amazon and eBay so sellers could keep a larger proportion of their sale.
Jonathan, who lives in Merchiston, said: “Finishing my first semester at Heriot-Watt in 2011, I set about selling my unwanted textbooks using the ‘big guys’ and found myself paying extortionate fees.
“I remember thinking to myself, ‘surely I can’t be the only one bothered by how much is deducted in fees?’
“I was a pretty good IT student at secondary school and I won all the IT awards. It just seemed right to add two and two together to use my IT and business skills to engineer this solution.”
After ten months of development, ScholarExpress was up and running, and within the first month of launch in September 2012, it had been visited by around 2000 people.
To sell books, students must become a member of the site –which is free to join – and type in the barcode of the book they want to sell, which other members can view and purchase, with funds then transferred to the seller’s bank account.
Jonathan said that unlike eBay and Amazon, there are no additional fees for listing books or costs for extra features such as adding photographs of the item on sale. There is also no time limit within which the books must be sold.
The site – www.scholarexpress.co.uk – now has almost 100 members, with 97 books listed. Jonathan claimed it was at least 75 per cent cheaper to sell a book on ScholarExpress than Amazon or eBay due to the larger fees charged.
He added: “The model is based on advertisers, so making money from it depends on the amount of visitors to the site – the more visitors, the more likely an advertiser would want to advertise.”
Heriot-Watt’s Enterprise Creation Manager, Dr Olga Kozlova, said: “Jonathan saw a gap in the market and filled it quickly – a sign of business flair and the start of what we all hope will be a very successful undertaking.”
Spine of a business
According to Jonathan Kennedy’s calculations.....
If selling a £40 book, the amount the seller will take home after fees have been deducted:
• Amazon £32.24
• eBay £33.44
• ScholarExpress £38.44
If selling a £50 book, the amount the seller will take home after fees have been deducted:
• Amazon £40.52
• eBay £42.10
• ScholarExpress £48.10
If selling a £60 book, the amount the seller will take home after fees have been deducted:
• Amazon £48.79
• eBay £50.76
• ScholarExpress £57.76