Gabe Sanchez’s career as an entrepreneur got off to a rather bumpy start.
Sanchez arrived on Marquette’s campus in 2008 as a transfer student from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Coming from a much larger school, Sanchez was shocked that there are only two bookstores on campus.
“So unless you found your books online, there weren’t a lot of options for students at Marquette to buy their textbooks,” Sanchez said. “It shouldn’t be that way.”
So Sanchez started his nearly year-long trek of creating his own textbook business, a task that included teaching himself how to build a website along the way.
The result was Bookmarqet.com, a place where Marquette students could buy, sell, or exchange their books in the hope both parties would get a better deal on their textbooks, Sanchez said.
“It plays to the student’s benefit to do business through other students,” he said.
Bookmarqet went live this May, and according to Sanchez, more than 40 people had posted their books to sell on his site.
What originally looked like a promising beginning to his website turned into a potential lawsuit after he asked one of his professors to give him feedback on his site.
After three days of Bookmarqet being live, Sanchez was warned to tear down the site by the Marquette professor who threatened to inform Marquette’s Legal Counsel of “a possible infringement on Marquette University’s bookstore name and other Marquette domain names.”
Because BookMarq and Bookmarqet had similar domain names, the professor felt strongly that Sanchez was violating certain trademark laws.
Sanchez, fearing reprimand from Marquette, chose to terminate the Bookmarqet name, but not before realizing his idea’s potential.
After another few months of work, Sanchez relaunched with myBookSupply.com
, a professional looking site that Sanchez compares to a small version of Craig’s List.
Students looking for books just have to type in the name of their course or the textbook they need, and if someone had posted that particular book on the site, myBookSupply will put the buyer and seller in contact.
“It’s a walk around campus, a meet, an exchange, and both parties are happy,” Sanchez said.
According to Sanchez, myBookSupply is free of charge to its users. He plans on recruiting local businesses to advertise on his site in order to turn his business profitable.
So far, the students who have used Sanchez’s site have only good things to say.
Zach Duenas, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, used Bookmarqet last semester before Sanchez brought the site down. He was able to sell one of his political science books for what he believes was more than BookMarq or Sweeney’s Books would have given him.
“I think it’s a great idea,” Duenas said. “Gabe’s site is accessible to everyone and very easy to use.”
Mark Simak, a senior in the College of Business Administration, was one of the first users of myBookSupply. Simak believes if the site catches on, it could lead to lower cost for books at Marquette.
“It would be really easy to meet up with someone on campus and exchange money or a check for the book you need,” Simak said.