Introducing Bibliotech, an Oxford Startup

Features Science and Technology

In the year 2017, the publishing industry is in a state of flux. Information is everywhere, easily accessible and free – but in an age of alternative facts and lowered standards, cutting-edge research and unbiased academia is more important than ever before. Bibliotech, a start-up created by an Oxford grad, has filled a gap in the market for online university textbooks and partnered up with the publishing greats to make this happen, ensuring that today’s students are in the best possible position to reconcile academia with an over-connected world.

The company has its roots in Oxford: the idea for it came to Dave Sherwood on a trans-Siberian train from Beijing to Moscow occupied by the 2013 Australian and New Zealand Rhodes Scholars. Dave studied PPE at Pembroke, and went on to found Bibliotech in early 2014 through the Oxford Startup Incubator. The Incubator was founded in 2011 to help Oxford students and alumni get their business ideas off the ground, and has taken on over 50 startup ventures, ranging from the medical domain to social media data analysis. Since then, Bibliotech has grown fast, moving from student accommodation to a swanky office in Kings Cross overlooking the British Library.

There is a massive gap in the market for Bibliotech’s service, as 93% of textbooks are currently sold in hard copy form due to the lack of accessible, high quality material online – science students especially know the struggle, always requiring the most up-to-date, (and of course, expensive) editions of their textbooks, in addition to the pain felt when the library only has one copy to share between the entire year.

Its tagline of ‘Spotify for textbooks’ defines the service

Its tagline of ‘Spotify for textbooks’ defines the service: an interactive web app which provides access to a huge wealth of resources for an affordable subscription fee. Bibliotech is currently the cheapest textbook service – it has the lowest price per book on the market. It has redefined research and revision. Its intuitive software allows you to extract definitions quickly, as well as highlight and annotate – you can personalise your textbook, and even use it offline.

Currently the service only covers the sciences – but it is quickly expanding into other disciplines. It is partnered with Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, the Royal Chemistry Society, Macmillan and other big names in the publishing industry, so it is high quality, in addition to being affordable.

Every term Bibliotech offers a micro-internship to Oxford students in 9th week – so if you’re interested in start-ups or marketing, or simply want to avoid the 9th week trap of sleeping 15 hours a day and stealing your mum’s essential Waitrose hummus, consider joining Bibliotech as a marketing, sales or development intern.


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