Post Classifieds

TXTBOX strives to make students money

By Lizzie Glaser
On January 24, 2012

With nearly $13 billion lost nationally in the textbook industry

each year and only 25 percent of students selling books back, four Xavier students are hoping to capture the remaining 75 percent through their newly-launched business, TXTBOX.

TXTBOX is a textbook-return system in which students drop

their textbooks in a large, secure box (the TXTBOX), leaving a slip of paper with their information enclosed inside the front cover of the books.

The business owners, Xavier juniors Owen Raisch and Jimmy Geiser and sophomores Darnell Miller and Robert Kelly, then sell back the textbooks for the highest market value and send the money to the original student.

When filling out their information forms, students have

the choice of rushed or classic service. Rushed service allows students to receive their cash more quickly,

but may return less money than the classic service because the TXTBOX employees have not had time to find the greatest value for the book while reselling it to online stores such as Amazon and e-Bay.

The employees are then paid commission on each text sold. Since the Bookstore is the only legal seller of textbooks on Xavier's campus, TXTBOX has decided to test its business plan on the XU campus as a non-profit

company.

"We do not want to directly compete with the Bookstore,"

Raisch said. "We are offering a different service; tapping into a different [digital] market with a modern approach. We hope to prepare TXTBOX for the digital revolution, because not a lot of companies out there are successfully vying for that market."

The students operate the business from the basement of Raisch and Geiser's Cleneay home and already have four boxes built and ready for business. In addition, TXTBOX hopes to provide more employment opportunities for

students both on and off campus, as well as give students experience working in a real business setting. "We want to learn more about starting businesses. The fundamentals

to a stronger economy are in starting small businesses.

TXTBOX is a great way to help kids get experience in the real world instead of making marketing plans. We want to let students play around with a real company," Raisch said.

Once the company takes off, the employed students would

work for two hours a night, making around 11 or 12 dollars an hour and gaining valuable experience working for a profit-based company.

"There have been several businesses at Xavier that operated on a non-revenue model, but the University is getting rid of them," Geiser said. "Profit drives success.

When there's a possibility for failure, students will learn better." In its first semester collecting books, TXTBOX brought in over $1000 in revenue, selling back around 130 textbooks.

"Our objectives were changing a lot and we wanted to assess our system, so we kept the initial traffic pretty low so that we weren't overwhelmed. But we still outdid our initial projections," Geiser said.

In the coming months, TXTBOX is hoping to expand its base to community colleges and will be pitching the idea to

the president of Southern State Community College in March. "Southern State has four campuses with a total of around 10,000 students. However, they don't have a current buy-back system or online buy-back site and their bookstore is essentially a one-man operation. People don't

realize the value of buying back at a community college, so we won't be clawing for our share," Raisch said. "It's the perfect venue for us right now as a young company."

Raisch, Geiser, Miller and Kelly have high hopes for TXTBOX, and are currently designing software and logos that, they believe, could take the company national. They are also working with local businesses such as Betta's to provide coupons to students who use TXTBOX to sell back their books. As the company continues to expand, its founders stress that, above all, they are in it for the experience. "The average student spends $898 a year on textbooks, and as soon as the book is off the shelf, its value deteriorates. We want to get students more money for their

books," Raisch said. "We're not business students, so we're trying to find a way to connect our reallife experiences to business and give students an opportunity to do the same."


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