PROJECT: book exchange

Creating a Marketplace for Textbooks


Book Exchange facilitates the resale of used textbooks in a secure marketplace setting. They currently partner with York University in Toronto, Canada. Their mission is to reduce carbon footprint and empower students financially to access educational resources.


  • Mobile
  • Web


  • Development
  • UX/UI
  • Brand Consultation


    • Angular   Ionic
    • Nodejs  HTML5
    • SAAS


The Task at Hand.

The lifecycle of a university or college textbook often begins with an expensive purchase at the bookstore and ends with the used book collecting dust on a bookshelf. Seldom do the methods of selling a used textbook benefit the original purchaser. Not only is it difficult to find a used textbook online, it can also be risky for the purchaser to meet up with a stranger off the internet.

Book Exchange created the first app that facilitates the buy and sell of used textbooks through its online textbook marketplace. The innovationative tech product was designed with ease of transaction, advanced search functionality, and for student safety.


From Product Concept to Delivery.

The app was designed by students for students. Direct access to the target audience made the user discovery process straightforward. Key features were identified and added to the product roadmap. Product backlog items were slated for future expansion post launch. The app launched just before student final exams to generate optimal market awareness and peak utilization of product.

User Experience & Interface Design

Product research included user interviews and online surveys. The questions were designed to generate awareness to user pain points and their propensity to utilize a mobile app as a solution. Competitive research revealed niched offerings in the app space. However, none were directly tied to an established post-secondary institution.

Initial user interface sketches and wireframes rounded up over 50 screens. All screens were refined through an offline feedback and user testing process.

Since the application is in partnership with York University, the UI capitalized on user familiarity. By implement the colors that represent the school and secondary palettes of dark greys to a bright white we created an environment that facilitated ease of use.

The Technology.

The core of Book Exchange technology is powered by a MEAN stack. This JavaScript software stack is often used for building dynamic websites and web applications. It consists of Mongo DB, Express.JS, Angular, and Node.js. The MEAN stack technology provides a hyper-scalable, efficient, and JavaScript-only solution to build Book Exchange from the ground up.

With the use of a service-orientated architecture, Lifted was able to reduce the workload on the client side by pushing all of the application logic to Node API. This practical method allowed for seamless mobile development with NativeScript, a JavaScript mobile framework, that retains the speed and functionality of any native application.

Book Exchange is secured with a JWT solution. JSON web tokens is an industry standard RFC-7519 method for representing claims securely between two parties. In essence, the solutions protects the API as well as the app users.

The app lives on the cloud. Lifted employs AWS EC2 to host the API and AWS S3 for the Angular application and static files such as book images and profile pictures.




Advanced search functionality allowed students to search by university course code. This unique feature is exclusive to the Book Exchange app. It enables students to easily find and reserve the most relevant textbooks without having to sort through similar or outdated versions of the textbook. To ensure the safest exchange experience, only users with YorkU student IDs can access the application. The student ID functionality builds trust for students, and helps app owners track down users should there be issues with the meet up. 

Lifted helped promote Book Exchange on YorkU campus resulting in hundreds of downloads of the app in the first week.

“The Lifted team went above and beyond helping my launch a university-recognized service from ideation to app development, and from marketing to onboarding.”
Asad A.