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AUS student launches book exchange app
American University of Sharjah (AUS) student Khashayar Nikravesh has developed the first and only book exchange app in the UAE. BookSwap.ae is an easy-to-use system that connects buyers and sellers of second-hand university textbooks.
In order to reduce some of the costs they incur during each academic year, university students often seek to buy secondhand academic books. In the UAE, however, there are not many bookstores that deal with used textbooks. This is where Bookswap tries to fill the gap. Bookswap is a free-to-use service and can be accessed via its website, Bookswap.ae, or on the iOS mobile platform as an app. It helps students find the relevant books and post their books for sale very easily.
"Bookswap is an online service, much like a classifieds," said Nikravesh, currently in his second year of Management Information Systems with a minor in Actuarial Mathematics. "Students who have books to sell simply post their book along with their contact details and the price of the book. Students who wish to buy a book can search the system and contact the seller directly. No money is exchanged online, so there is no question of secure online payments. The students meet directly and are responsible for the transaction."
When asked why he decided to create the app, Nikravesh said, "I wanted to learn iOS programming, and this seemed like a good project to do, as it had the right mix of databases and interface design. This was my first app and I learned a lot while making it."
According to Ali Khawaja, Instructor in Management and Nikravesh's advisor, "The objective was to provide a simple and easy-to-use solution for secondhand textbooks, and the app does just that. The feedback from the users has been tremendous. One of our users asked if the app could include textbook cover images; that was taken a step further by Khashayar in developing an ISBN barcode scanner that will be made available to users in the next update." This new feature would allow users to upload information on the book by simply providing the ISBN number or scanning the book's barcode using the app and the cell phone's camera.
The app and website have been under development since September 2013, and have already had 400 users and over 600 books posted on the system. So far, users have come from universities in Sharjah and Dubai.