Alumnus has 'app'-etite for used textbook business
Alumnus Brandon Baird has done something most budding entrepreneurs can only imagine — and he credits his Memorial education with making his dream a reality.
The Goulds native, who graduated in May with a bachelor of business administration, just launched a new app, complete with a media splash and plenty of excitement.
“There is no doubt that the skills I learned in the classroom have been immediately reflected in my work in the real world just a mere two months later,” he said during a recent conversation in the University Centre on the St. John’s campus.
Paperback is an app for Apple and Android devices that connects users — mostly post-secondary students — who are buying and selling used textbooks. They download the app to their smartphone and scan a book’s barcode. From there, they add asking prices and their contact information. People searching for used books can scan an online inventory, contact sellers and can even see if a book is sold. Users can also post books through the website.
“Students have two restrained resources: money and time,” said Mr. Baird, who partnered with local marketing and web firm John Atkins and Co. on the project. “The idea for this app came from my own experience buying and selling textbooks. This got me thinking that there has to be a way to provide a platform to students that is organized and allows them to recoup the full value of a used book.”
Since launching the app, the feedback has been nothing short of “extraordinary” says Mr. Baird, who begins law school this month in New Brunswick. Just about every mainstream provincial media outlet has interviewed him, while the app has garnered plenty of social media buzz.
He says his time at Memorial helped prepare him to launch his business.
“Besides the idea stemming from my experience at Memorial, the education I received through my concentration in marketing has helped Paperback become a hot topic,” he noted proudly. “Everything from targeting customers to promoting the product and portraying an accurate product image was all learned through my time at Memorial.”
Mr. Baird says his business plans are ambitious — expanding across the country and into the United States — but not impractical. He envisions Paperback becoming the preferred platform for students selling and buying books.
“I think this app can really change how students do business.”