Students frequently complain about the price of books, and with some text books for courses at TU Delft costing upwards of €90, it is clear why. Recently, as part of their Honours Leadership course, a group of TU students came up with ‘Binder - Done That!’ a book-sharing platform that could potentially negate these high costs.
The platform would allow students to search for people that have a copy of the book they need and rent it from them. A survey carried out by the group revealed that 97% of students surveyed consider their required books to be too expensive. Binder would theoretically reduce this high cost by allowing students to rent and lend their books. With 63% of students already sharing their books anyway and 80% asserting that they would use this service if available, the idea seem feasible. Developed as part of the leadership course for honours students which TU Delft has been running for the last three years, the idea for Binder even won the 2014-15 leadership award, beating out four other teams, all working on projects with the theme ‘The Next Best Thing’. When asked about where inspiration for the project came from, team member Julian Jagtenberg said, "We have all experienced the urgency of this situation ourselves", adding that with the decrease in government support for students enrolling this September, it will become near impossible for students to have all their own books.
The group will likely face stiff opposition from publishing companies. Projects attempting to share, open access to or digitise educational content have often been presented with legal problems by publishing companies looking to protect their financial interests. However, the team has been in touch with Hortis legal advice office to find out how a non-profit group like Binder can deal with copyright laws.
If the group is able to negate any legal or copyright issues, leadership instructor Glenn Weisz believes with so much start-up potential, the group could achieve success; "They are very determined and enthusiastic. Binder have a very strong team – I definitely believe in it." They are currently seeking investments to help them launch their start-up.