Meet the Glasgow third-year who runs his own app

Students can use it to buy and sell textbooks


So, you’re struggling to meet a couple of essay deadlines and trying to juggle your social life at the same time?

The Tab Glasgow met Alasdair Ireland who does all that while simultaneously running his app Your Book List.

Alasdair is only in third-year

Alasdair is only in third-year

Alasdair is a third-year economics student at Glasgow Uni and realised last year that there was a gap in the market for buying and selling textbooks. He contacted someone he knew to design the app, and along with co-founder Phil Partarrieu, got the innovative idea up-and-running. The app lets students securely buy and sell used textbooks, which can save them a significant amount of money.

Alasdair launched the app due to his personal experience when buying textbooks. He said: “I realised there was nothing similar on the market – so why not create a solution?”

Alasdair and his team of Brand Ambassadors

Alasdair and his team of Brand Ambassadors

In Your Book List’s first year, the app expanded to eight Scottish unis, saving students approximately ten grand. The app’s growing at a high rate and Alasdair and his team of seven are planning to expand to the rest of the UK.

The team faced a busy summer marketing the app and targeting the Glasgow area to make sure everything runs smoothly before national expansion. They’ve travelled to Edinburgh, London and even Poland for meetings and business competitions to gain funding.

Preparing to fly out to Poland

Preparing to fly out to Poland

Alasdair said: “I went to the Edge business conference in Edinburgh and everyone was twice my age. Some people do look down on us because we’re students, but I find this an advantage – we know what students want because we’ve faced it ourselves.”

Pitching to European investors

Pitching to European investors

One of the milestone moments for the team was when they were shortlisted for the Herald Business Awards. After that, the BBC got in contact.

Alasdair said: “I used my own money to start the app up in first year, but now we’re receiving funding and being recognised which is exciting. It’s just incredible to be saving students so much cash so easily. I’m amazed something like this wasn’t invented before.

“It’s also exciting to be able to give other students jobs as Brand Ambassadors. I’m proud to be part of this high-growth startup.”

Attending the Wolves Summit conference in Poland

Attending the Wolves Summit conference in Poland

Alasdair employs five brand ambassadors to spread the word about the app around Glasgow Uni.

Calum Pender, one of the ambassadors, said: “It’s amazing how a student can run a business at this growth and magnitude while still at uni.”

One-third of first-years at Glasgow currently use the app, with this number set to rise. Calum and the Brand Ambassador team visited a flat in student halls Murano to promote the app to find out that each student had already downloaded it.

The app is growing at a fast pace

The app is growing at a fast pace

Alasdair has many plans for the app and does not want to stop after expanding to the UK: “Ideally, after I graduate I’d like to take the app to Europe and America.

“I know in America there’s a major gap in the market because students currently rent their textbooks which costs them so much money. We’re flying to Silicone Valley in February for a meeting so we’ll see what happens after that.”

Henry, another ambassador, said: “No one realises that textbook costs are the most inflated thing in America, over healthcare and housing. It’s exciting where the app could go. It’s cool to see the progress it’s making.

“It was an idea, and now it’s a reality.”

Click here to download the Your Book List app.

Click here for the Your Book List Facebook page.