Valdosta Daily Times

Business

September 23, 2012

VSU student creates textbook trading platform

VALDOSTA — Like most .com ventures, Jebbles.com has humble beginnings.

“I was tired of trying to sell my books,” said Valdosta State University international business student and creator of Jebbles.com Jebidiah Light.

Established in 2011, Jebbles.com is an online service for students to post their textbooks for other students to buy. Functioning as somewhat of an online “bulletin board,” it’s accessible to college students only. Students register through the site, identify the institution they attend and either post books to sell or find books to buy by other students.

“If you sign up from VSU, you only see books from VSU,” said Light. “It’s all local.”

Very much into safety, Jebbles.com encourages all students to meet in public places to buy and sell books and even suggests students go through with transactions in groups.

Prior to Jebbles.com, Light had no experience building websites.

“I learned how to script by reading a bunch of books from the library,” said Light.

Initially, Light launched a very minimal form of the website.

“A very simple version of the website went live two or three months after scripting it,” said Light.

This past spring, Jebbles.com improved things such as the database structure, the fluidity and the security and now features 8,000 colleges and universities all across the United States. Still not satisfied, Light began working on expanding the site further this summer to include a search function for books, an RSS feed and a mobile app.

“We’re not going to stop improving the site,” said Light. “I feel if we do, it will die.”

Despite being a senior who is about to graduate with a degree in business, Light is making no money off his website. He’s actually losing money.

“I just wanted to sell my books and I wanted to help students sell their books, too,” said Light.

Light was tired of feeling scammed and ripped off whenever he tried selling his old textbooks. For him, it just didn’t make any sense to spend $600 on a textbook to only be able to sell it back for $30 just one semester later.

This is the philosophy that has driven Light to create Jebbles.com and it is also the same philosophy that motivates Light to keep it going.

“I’m just trying to help people,” said Light.

Shortly after founding the site, Light turned to friend and fellow VSU student Rebecca Zimler.

“I had class with her,” said Light.

Despite working towards a degree in biology, Zimler turned out to be quite the marketing professional.

“She’s really creative,” said Light.

She created advertising flyers, business cards and even had a Jebbles.com tent set up at this year’s The Happening at VSU.

“We’re just trying to get people signed up,” said Light.

Jebbles.com now has more than 500 registered users, in two states, spanning across 15 different colleges.

“We’re now in Florida,” said Light. “And I haven’t told anyone in Florida about it.”

It could be the catchy name “Jebbles” that sticks in the brains of those who see it. While Light would like to take credit for the creatively, addictive name, its origins come from a former co-worker.

“It was just kind of a goofy nickname somebody gave me,” said Light.

While Light actually didn’t want to name the website after himself, he was outvoted by a panel of friends who felt the name was catchy.

Right now, Light doesn’t have any plans of making a career out of Jebbles.com; however, it’s possible Mark Zuckerberg never planned to make a living off of Facebook. After graduating this year and then visiting Germany, Light plans to attend law school and study international corporate law.

Zimler also doesn’t have any plans of dropping her biology ambitions for the website. After graduating this summer, she plans attending Emory University to get her master’s.

Using Jebbles.com is as easy as it sounds.

1. Go to www.Jebbles.com.

2. Sign up with you school’s .edu address.

3. Pick the institution you attend.

4. Add a book or look for one to buy.

 

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