Introducing – An Interview with the Creators – blogUT

Last week, I received an e-mail from someone asking me to promote his new project – a website for buying and selling used textbooks, to take the place of the often inoperable TUSBE. After checking out his site and posting some books of my own, I happily agreed to promote this wonderful new resource, and also got the chance to ask co-creator Rajaie AlKorani a few questions about his endeavour.

Note: This interview has been condensed.

Who are the creators of

My friend and I, Nayeem Zen and Rajaie AlKorani, are 3rd year computer engineering students at U of T.

What prompted you to begin this project?

We started after we were talking with our friends about where we would sell our 2nd year textbooks now that TUSBE had disappeared. After searching for alternatives to TUSBE, we found a few other used textbook sites but none of them were as simple as had been. And even though a lot of people have used Facebook to sell/buy their books, we didn’t think it was the best solution either since there are a lot of different groups and joining/searching them all individually would be a hassle. So since we didn’t find what we wanted, and since Zen and I both had previous programming experience, we decided we’d try make our own TUSBE replacement which would help students sell their books a lot more easily. We wanted to make the site to learn a bit more about web development and because we thought that it would be a good project to work on before school started in September.

What goes into something like this?

From a financial perspective, the only costs we have are the monthly hosting and the yearly domain name purchase, but those aren’t too bad. We’ve both been working on the site for a few hours a day now for almost a month, but overall it’s been pretty smooth sailing for us. It didn’t take us as long as another site may have since we decided we’d follow TUSBE’s old layout very closely, so we had a pretty good model to follow while developing the site. What we’re really aiming for with the site is simplicity. We didn’t bother spending a lot of time on a really fancy design or features that nobody was going to use, because we know people don’t really care about the bells and whistles if all they want to do is sell their book.

I’ve noticed that there are no ads on Was it ever your intention to make money from this project?

We don’t have any ads on the site because our main intention of starting the site wasn’t to make money from ads, but to help people sell the books they don’t need anymore to other people who need them at a good price. As cliche as it may sound, we really did start the site to help other students out. We also started it out because we wanted to sell our books which we spent hundreds of dollars on last year (which we’re not going to use again).  Book exchange websites are only useful if a lot of people are using them, so it would be great if you and anyone who reads this could spread the word about the site.

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