St. Caimin’s Community School have launched a new app with the aim of reducing schoolbook costs to parents of children attending the school. The free app is available to download on the Google Play store and Apple’s app store.

The app is a platform to allow parents of St. Caimin’s schoolchildren to buy and sell used schoolbooks. Only books for the upcoming school year can be bought and sold on the app. Compared to other apps and websites, where you must take a photo and research the price, the St Caimin’s Buy & Sell app has book images, names and recommended prices preloaded.

Putting a book up for sale takes 4 button clicks. Buying a book takes 5 clicks which concludes in sending a preloaded text message to a book seller. The app also has the advantage of ruling out postage costs as all users will live in the St Caimin’s catchment area.

A common complaint by parents is that they would love to buy and sell schoolbooks on DoneDeal or similar sites, but adding the significant postage costs and hassle, it was just not worth it as many times the buyer/seller was based elsewhere in the country.

The app launch comes just weeks after Minister for Education Richard Bruton said that schools need to be more active in reducing costs to parents. St Caimin’s have addressed that in a proactive way.

To date the app has received a very positive response, within two days of launching, 500 books had been put up for sale. It is hoped that between 3,000 and 4,000 books will be posted for sale before booklists for the upcoming school year are made available to parents next week.

In a survey by Barnardos last year, it was found that school books for first year pupils averaged €290. This is a significant cost to parents, considering they have other expenses such as uniforms and voluntary contributions.

The St Caimin’s app can reduce the cost by over half when factoring in profits made from sold books, significant savings can be made. The app developers, who have a background in education, understand how tight both school budgets and back to school costs are. With this in mind, it was important to produce an app that was both free to parents and also affordable within a school budget.