Combating the Rising Expense of College Text Books with a No Cost, Efficient Search Engine

gremlin_small-0c196408ac221e18280e5eec9adb6144College is really expensive, and the prices keep going up. As if the pain isn’t bad enough, textbook prices are out of control.  In a USA Today article, textbooks prices have risen over 82% since 2002, and the trend is not slowing down. What are students and parents to do? There are several options available; renting, buying used, and if available students can buy eBook’s. The real issue here is how do students know they are getting the best deal? This is where comes to save the day. Gremlin searches sources on the web, and provides a clean and easy to read summary for each book searched. The service is free and only takes a few seconds to compare several options.

How We Can Help

We have done all the difficult and time-consuming work for each and every user that visits our site. All the user has to do is enter a book title, author’s name, keyword, or the book’s ISBN (International Standard Book Number) and the search results are displayed in seconds. New verses Used, Rent verses Buy, it is all there for the user to see. We have seen users save over $130 on a single book based on the campus bookstore prices. While it may not be a massive windfall, saving $100-300 on books per semester should make students and parents very happy, but the good news doesn’t stop there. Once the student is finished with the book that he/she has purchased, we can help them sell it back to make back some of what they spent. We strive to make our site as easy and clean as possible. We do not have any advertising links on our site, and it has a very “vanilla” look and feel. We are spending our money and effort on providing the best, most comprehensive search results possible, not on building a flashy website.

What We Believe

College is becoming more and more a necessity to compete nationally and globally. The National Center for Education Statistics states that there are 21.8 million collegiate students and that number is expected to grow to 24 million by 2021. As the numbers rise, so will the tuition. We want to help wherever we can. As a proud holder of an MBA, I have seen first hand how frustrating it can be to buy a Cost Management book for $197 and a few months later have the campus bookstore offer me $3 to sell it back. Several years later, I still own that book. Our goal is to empower students by providing the data and letting them make the best choice for their needs. We want the student to think beyond the campus bookstore, and to see what we can provide, for free!!

Our Story is a simple story. My wife was attending nursing school to obtain her second degree. One semester her textbooks cost over $1,000, if we went the campus bookstore route. Fed up, I turned to the web to see what I could find. Several hours later, low and behold, a $400 savings. Although we had saved a decent sum of money, the time it took was unacceptable. It seemed this was a wide spread struggle and a great opportunity to help students save on their textbooks. So 4 years later, the site is up and running, saving students money on textbooks. We are expanding our source list every semester and want to stay true to our slogan “Textbooks are expensive, we can help”.


This post was provided by Rob Parrish and Craig Nowotny, co-founders of Gremlin Books, who was a guest on College Smart Radio “Tackling the Runaway Costs of College” on January 11th, 2014.  Listen to this broadcast on YouTube here.

Photo Credit: Gremlin Books

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