a comparison shopping service that we profiled in November, has released a new
textbook service
. You may remember that Ugenie’s defining feature is the the
ability to group items into a ‘bundle’ and find the best price for that bundle –
i.e. find the best price for multiple items across multiple merchants. This
takes into account all the coupons and discounts being offered. So textbooks is
obviously a natural extension of that, seeing as students require different
textbooks for different courses.

For the textbooks app, Ugenie has aggregated textbook information from more
than 150 universities. The user selects his/her university from a pull-down
list, then they review the textbooks they need for each
class. Alternatively the user can search by book metadata such as Title, Author or Keyword.

The idea is a simple one: that students can find the cheapest prices for all
their books in one click. Students are generally thrifty sorts by necessity (at
least that was the case for me back in the day), so saving tens or even hundreds
of dollars on textbooks is a pretty compelling thing for students.

Ugenie’s user interface is fantastic – very smooth and a lot of useful filter
options to find the right bundle. The problem, as we noted in our November post,
remains that you need to purchase each individual item separately. The last
of the Ugenie shopping experience is not automated. But still, it’s a
very good value proposition for students wanting to save money on textbooks. I
can also see potential partnerships here, with the likes of Facebook and other
sites where students hang out.

Choose university and course of study; there are also book search options

Choose textbooks

Filter bundle

Purchase – the ‘fetch’ buttons take you to the individual retailers to
complete purchase