Written by: Marcus Nicholson
The average student spends $1,000 on textbooks per year, which is a daunting amount for students who also pay for tuition, housing and other expenses.
Campus Shift hopes to alleviate some of these costs.
Campus Shift, a business founded by University of Akron alumnus Derek Haake, works to save students money on textbooks, as well as to earn money.
“I started Campus Shift when I was an undergrad,” Haake said. “At the time, it was called BookDefy, and I used it as a price comparison search engine to compare book prices and saved myself a lot of money. After using the search engine for a while, it dawned on me that there had to be a better way to get textbooks in college.”
Campus Shift cuts book prices by 50 to 80 percent, saving students $500 to $800 per year on books, according to Haake.
Haake gave three reasons why students aren’t saving all that they can on textbooks: a) students don’t know what their books are really worth; b) they don’t have access to a good online market to easily sell their books for a fair price, and c) there are issues of personal safety and privacy when a student sells books on sites like Craigslist.
Haake said that these are the reasons why he created the Campus Shift textbook marketplace.
“This allows students to buy and sell their textbooks to each other at a fair price,” he said.
The system, which can also structure meet-ups for buyers and sellers, keeps personal information (email addresses, cell phone numbers, etc.) private, and also encourages users to select locations either on campus or at a partner business’s location.
Haake said that there are safety precautions while using Campus Shift as well.
“Our community is restrictive to only students, so that, unlike Craigslist or other marketplaces, users have to confirm their university email addresses before they can use my company’s textbook marketplace,” he said.
BookDefy was focused on saving students money on textbooks. Haake took on a few partners last fall and they expanded the concept into Campus Shift, which aims to be a total saving solution for college students.
According to Haake, the current economy has given them more opportunities.
“First, student loan debt is now over a trillion dollars in the aggregate. Second, upon graduation, students face unemployment and an extremely high personal student loan debt,” Haake said. “We formed Campus Shift to try and do something about this.”
In addition to saving money on textbooks, Campus Shift gives students the opportunity to make money while in college. According to Haake, it does this with two services.
First, it allows students to buy and sell their notes to classmates. Haake said that this allows some students to get rewarded for taking quality notes in their classes.
Second, their CS.inspire platform allows student entrepreneurs the ability to create and test their entrepreneurial ideas.
“Our entire team is comprised of former (and current) student entrepreneurs, and there are not a lot of free resources out there that help students launch a business,” Haake said. “This is what CS.inspire does. It gives students a website and links into the Campus Shift community and merchant capabilities to allow them to test their business ideas.”
CS.inspire is a free service to students.
“We also help students save every day by connecting them to businesses within their campus community. Our CS.connect platform allows students to find out what is going on, and where they can save on their daily expenses within the college community,” Haake said.
Haake said that they are launching their platform at Kent, Akron and Ohio University next week. They will also have an application that will allow students to find out what deals are happening on campus.
Haake hopes that with Campus Shift students will save money and cut back on the amount of loans they have to take out.
“My overall goal is to help make college more affordable to students,” Haake said.
For more information, visit campusshift.com.