When University of Notre Dame recent graduates Xavier Helgesen and Kreece Fuchs went to the campus bookstore in 2002 to sell their textbooks, they returned home with the tomes still in hand. The store, they decided, was offering too little money. Curious about what the Internet could do, Fuchs posted his textbooks on half.com and the first day made $500 in sales. Impressed, Helgesen started selling his own textbooks and soon he says, “We were pretty good Internet booksellers.”

To Helgesen...

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