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Juniors run Web site to buy and sell books

Meg Mirshak | Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Students in the Mendoza College of Business have a new option to sell their textbooks at the end of the semester: DormBooks.com.

Co-founded by juniors Andrew Matasic and Karol Grzesiak, DormBooks.com is a Web site facilitating the buying and selling of used business textbooks.

The Web site buys back textbooks for more than the bookstore offers and resells them to students at a lower price, the pair said.

“In addition to beating [the bookstore] on price, we’re also more convenient since we go right to the [student’s] dorm room to pick up the books and deliver the books,” Matasic said.

He said they offer the delivery service because students should not have to stand in line during finals week and worry about losing money reselling their textbooks to the bookstore.

Currently, Dormbooks.com employs 15 Notre Dame students who serve as pickup agents for the Spring 2008 buyback period, which runs from May 6 to 13.

When one of these agents picks up a textbook from a student’s dorm room, he or she decides how much the book is worth and writes the customer a check for the full amount.

Grzesiak said he came up with the idea for DormBooks.com as a freshman when he purchased a book from his roommate and resold it online for a profit.

Matasic and Grezesiak decided to use the Internet to create their business and e-mailed their friends and classmates to inform them of the service in the fall of 2006.

A loan from Grzesiak’s father helped the co-founders buy books from students during the first semester.

Students have responded positively to DormBooks.com, Matasic said.

In its four semesters operating, the business has sold over 1,500 textbooks and saved students thousands of dollars, the pair said.

The pair submitted the DormBooks.com business plan to the McCloskey Notre Dame Business Plan Competition last fall. The competition, an initiative of the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at Mendoza College of Business, awards prize money to entrepreneurial students for outstanding new business plans.

DormBooks.com advanced to the round of six finalists and Matasic and Grzesiak were awarded a $2,000 third place prize this past weekend

“We were surprised at every single level of the competition,” Matasic said.

Matasic and Grzesiak hope to expand DormBooks.com campus wide next fall, offering the service to students in all majors and eventually other colleges in Indiana.