Ucbooks.nl (formerly aucbooks.com) is a digital platform where students can trade their textbooks and connect with peers taking the same courses. Created as a class project by an AUC student, the idea was a response to the unofficial channels that were being used to exchange books, which had become largely disorganised and impractical. Students were losing time endlessly scrolling through posts or leaving it up to chance that the right person was posting the right book, at the right time.
A single digital marketplace
On ucbooks.nl, all the buyers and sellers are now neatly organised in a single directory, making it easy to find the correct books and those selling them. If a book is available at any of the university library locations, a link appears through which the book could be borrowed or the ebook content can be accessed. This provides more choice to a book seeker. Furthermore, a single marketplace also encourages fair, more transparent pricing as users can see the prices others are charging for the same book.
The mobile application features a fully functional chat option and a camera ISBN barcode scanner making it easier to search for a certain book. If a book a user marks as "following" is posted, he or she immediately receives a push notification to better facilitate the connection. This makes the matching of those selling books with those buying books much more efficient and user-friendly.
University library support
The project is supported by the university libraries of the UvA, HvA and VU. With this mutual support, the books posted by students at one university or study programme also become visible to those searching for books from the other universities. By increasing the reach of the single marketplace, students can better identify, find and access content material for their courses.