News

Website hopes to be go-to place for university materials

STUDENTS TRYING TO save money on their textbooks now have a new resource, Uottawabooks.com, launched by Carleton University students Shahir Kahriz and Matthew Grodinsky.

The website, designed for students, provides a place to buy and sell books, course packs, and notes.

“There are sites to buy and sell textbooks and there are bookstores, but we found that not everything is in one place,” said Kahriz, fourth-year software engineering student. “So if we gather all these resources and provide them in one location, it helps students a lot more. They can find what they’re looking for. It would make their university life a lot easier.”

As of January 2012, the website, sister site to Carletonbooks.com, is expanding beyond textbooks and course notes to offer student-centric listings like housing, jobs, and transportation, following expert advice.

“When we launched the Carleton site, we applied to a contest where we were one of the finalists, and one of the speakers told us to first focus on books and, if we see interest, growing to expand it to other areas,” said Kahriz.

A lot of students are interested in the website, which is why they decided to expand the selection.

“The traffic has been increasing ever since we launched,” he said. “We get 100 unique visitors every couple of weeks.”

Although there are other websites that offer similar classified services, Khariz said Uottawabooks.com is the only one that is student-oriented.

“We’re dedicated to students only,” he explained. “We verify that every person registering is a student, so there’s an added element of trust.”

The website doesn’t generate any revenue for the founders, but Grodinsky, a fourth-year business student, sees it as an opportunity to build work experience and apply theoretical knowledge to the real world. Despite the project being a hobby, the founders both hope to make money from it in the future.

Grodinsky and Kahriz agree Uottawabooks.com is a great alternative to bigger companies.

“I think the website is really easy to use; it looks really nice; it’s much more simple than sites like Kijiji,” said Grodinsky. “We’re gathering resources for students and providing it all in one area.”

—Jane Lytvynenko