According to the Canadian Federation of Students, the average undergraduate student spends between $500-1000 on textbooks each term. Considering that courses run for 4 month terms, this expense is extremely unsustainable and is a burden on top of an already expensive tuition. A good solution would be to purchase used textbooks through online markeplaces such as Facebook or Kijiji , but these means have not been fully effective. One big issue is that the large volume of postings on these platforms make it difficult to keep track of the ones that are relevant for a particular student. On Facebook for instance, many users would keep notifications off for a marketplace group as they would otherwise be disturbed constantly, but this means they will also miss out on items that they need. Additionally, the constant printing of new textbooks seems like an unnecessary strain on the environment considering used books generally remain in fair conditions and contain the exact same content as newer counterparts.
What it does
Textbookify is a web app that allows students in university communities to create postings for textbooks that they wish to buy or sell. The platform then recommends potential buyers/sellers for each posting in order to facilitate increased used textbook usage. Real-time notifications of new recommendations are sent through SMS via the Twilio API. Furthermore, the app displays market analytics (e.g. high demand textbooks) in order to encourage students to participate in transactions.
How we built it
The frontend is built with Vue.js with a Node.js/express.js backend that interacts with a MongoDB database.
Challenges we ran into
Some of us were new to Vue.js. Debugging is difficult. Sleep was limited.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We were able to create a functional product using technology new to us.
What we learned
MongoDB and Vue.js.
What's next for textbookify
- Text recognition from images in order to auto-populate buy/sell data fields
- Incorporating data from other sources like Facebook marketplace