If you read the headline and think this is another boring story about college loans and tuition costs, you’re dead wrong. College students are being robbed of millions of dollars in a way that’s much more prevalent today then when many of us were college age. The culprit? Textbooks.
We met Mike Shannon and Kasey Gandham at Chicago TechWeek where they were showing off their startup PackBack. After spending a few minutes with them, I realized this whole “college students are being robbed, and PackBack can help” thing is no B.S. Shannon and Gandham both had textbooks that they would purchase at the beginning of the year for hundreds of dollars. Those books then stayed in the orange shipping boxes on move out day. Never even touched.
Shannon explained “Even in education technology and news is moving so fast that textbooks can be outdated on the first day of classes.” Professors have resorted to more up-to-date curriculum aids like the Internet, news articles, PowerPoint presentations, and speakers. Through his four years of college, Shannon said he may have up to 10 books that he purchased that were never even opened.
That can add up. It’s another cost factored into those mounting student loans.
So what does PackBack do? They are a short-term rental company for student textbooks. In most cases you rent the book by the day. This way if a professor surprises his or her students by actually having them do a textbook assignment, students can get access to the textbook relatively quickly.
Gandham and Shannon are testing out a model in the neighborhood of $5 per day for the text book rental. As they explain it, even if the professor resorts to the book 10 times over the course of a year, the student is saving anywhere from $50 to $100 off the cheapest used version of most books.
This startup simply makes
Check out our interview with Shannon and Gandham below and check out PackBackbooks.com
Here are more amazing startups from Chicago TechWeek