These 30 rock
The 30 Columbians
Brandon Knoblauch knows all of the Columbia Post Office clerks by name. Since May, he has mailed approximately 1,000 textbooks to online buyers.
Knoblauch is trying to give local university bookstores some competition.
The MU junior launched 1Up Books last spring with the simple idea of buying students’ textbooks and reselling them online. Knoblauch rented out the Shakespeare’s parking lot for a week at the end of the 2007 winter semester.
He brought his brother, Aaron, 23, onboard to write a computer program that shows how much money to pay for a scanned textbook, and 1Up Books was in business.
“The first couple of sales, we were freaking out because we were handing out all this money, and we were worried we weren’t going to get money back for (the books online),” Knoblauch says.
Determining the amount of money to give students for textbooks was based on what the MU bookstore would pay for them and then adding an additional percentage to “one up” the competition. If the MU bookstore was not buying a particular textbook back, Knoblauch was still willing to buy the book based on the normative online price.
David Strubinger, a friend of Knoblauch’s for the past six years, sold his textbooks to 1Up Books.
“(Brandon’s) the guy that really knows what he wants to do, and he’s worked really hard to accomplish his goals,” he says.
Students will have the opportunity to sell their textbooks to 1Up Books again at the end of this semester.
“In December, we’re going to buy back a lot more,” Knoblauch says. “Our goal is 5,000 (textbooks).” This means he will have to clear more space in his basement where he currently shelves the books.
“Be confident,” Knoblauch says to future entrepreneurs. “Don’t be afraid to take a risk.”