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Tuesday, June 18
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2 IU seniors look to take business to next level

For seniors Ben Greenberg and Rui Xia, 2011 not only means the takeoff of the new decade, but also a step forward for their online bookselling business,

After managing the website for more than one year, the duo is ready for a pivotal semester that could affect their decisions in future business.

“This is our most important semester,” Greenberg said. “If we do a great job, I’m confident that we’ll get enough investment to take us to the next level, and eventually become the best source for textbooks.”

After being fed up with paying hundreds of dollars each semester for textbooks and seeing little value for resale their freshman year, Greenberg, a psychology major, and his friend Xia, a business major, started developing a website with a simple

“We started TextYard because we had to pay too much for the textbooks,” Xia said, “And that’s what our slogan is — The End of Expensive Textbooks.”

“This is a real big problem,” Greenberg said regarding the textbook issue, “and I am confident that TextYard can solve it.”

Greenberg and Xia started the website as a small project in early 2008, and they said it has generated more than 1,000 users at IU during the past three years. Before last fall, TextYard expanded to more than 15 universities in the country.

The creators said in the competitive bookselling business, TextYard beat the local bookstores on price by offering the lowest prices among online sellers, while allowing students to search by classes and by books.

They encourage students to go online in order to avoid the huge markups charged by the bookstores.

Xia said college gave them an opportunity to see the problems that college students face, and after going national, they said they are looking forward to the expansion of TextYard in the coming year.

“We are expecting five times as many users at IU in the spring semester,” Greenberg said. “This is the first semester that TextYard will be focused on a marketing campaign.”

Greenberg said they will adopt multiple marketing tactics, including using social media, to make the website known to more students. Currently, there are more than 80 people on Facebook who like TextYard’s page.

They’ve hired a marketing team at IU as well as at University of Florida and University of Texas at Austin, Xia said. “We interviewed a lot of people and chose the most reliable and smart people.”

Though the creators admitted that the basic skills required for starting the website were computer skills and a simple idea, the following development and maintenance needs a lot of drudgery and commitments.

“Right now our competition comes from the local bookstore and various online sites,” Xia said. “We have the best service right now, but we know that eventually others will copy it. We’re ready to work hard to be the number one source for textbooks around the globe.”

Regarding the future of their website, Greenberg and Xia said there are still a lot of unknown factors. If spring turns out to be a booming season and they get investments, they might continue their dream on the West Coast upon graduation.

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