ASK STEVE #2 – Invest Your Time to Make Millions, Not Dollars



I’m in the process of developing a Facebook application that helps students save on textbooks. The idea is that almost every teacher requires that you buy a textbook for the class, but many of them never use the textbook. I’m going to collect information on which teachers don’t use their textbooks so students don’t buy them in the first place. With the cost of textbooks exceeding $100 in most cases, not buying simply one book is a huge savings. The value creation is clear.

My idea for monetization is for students to be able to click and buy the books they do need from Amazon and for me to collect the affiliate fee. However, I fear that most students will get the information about which books not to buy and then simply buy the remainder of their books from their college bookstore, thus depriving me of any revenue. How do I increase the conversion rate so I’m maximizing the revenue I receive from these students? Do you have any other ideas for monetization?



Tyler — walk away 🙂 If you’re going to spend time on something, why not spend time on something that’ll make millions of dollars, as opposed to hundreds? [That goes for anyone.] I don’t think there’s much of a business here — is your expectation that after students are done with a class, they are going to tell you that they didn’t use their book? I’m sure there are some students that won’t use their book, but others that will — I’m sure 98% of classes with a book, use the book in some way or another.

And I don’t know about you, but back when I was in college, when I was done with a class — I was DONE. I wasn’t about to think about it again — nor go online and give my feedback on the class.. unless you were going to pay me or buy my book back, then maybe I would have.

Most everyone uses their book in class. Also, everyone (majority — what 95%???) buy their college books at the college book store. Plus, they typically use a new book every year (if not more than that) — and if on your site, a teacher was stated as not using their textbook … you better bet that they will find that out, or their superior, and force that teacher to use their book again.

Stick away from college text books online — nothing seems to really work here (remember bigwords?). What about college note taking though? Not sure if anyone (Scribd?) is getting into that market, but there’d definitely be some opportunity there I’d think.

Although once again, with the same amount of effort/time on your end, can you make millions — as opposed to hundreds of dollars?

Hey! Want my advice?