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Troy Rhodes Jr., MyBookBorrow.com
When Rhodes, a junior at the University of Missouri, St. Louis, sold his college textbooks at the end of the spring 2008 semester, he received $18 -- for books that cost him $560 just a few months earlier. There had to be an alternative way, he thought. So over the next year, he developed MyBookBorrow.com, which allows students anywhere to save on textbooks by renting instead of buying. When a student requests a textbook, Rhodes (or one of the three friends who assist him) finds a used copy from one of the two textbook distributors that are his suppliers. He then provides a rental quote (after checking on competitors' rental prices and Amazon's purchase price) to the student. If the student agrees to the price, Rhodes buys the book and has the supplier ship it directly to the customer. When the semester ends, the customer ships the book back to Rhodes, who keeps his stock in a $22-a-month storage space.