Posts Tagged e-books

New Company Aims to Cut the Cost of Textbooks

This article was originally posted December 2011 by The Huntsman Post.

Bookeducator.com is Posting Textbooks Online

By Paul Lewis Siddoway

A student at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business has teamed up with three recent Huntsman graduates to lead a company that they hope will eventually bring financial relief to thousands of university students who are now expected to come up with more money each semester for textbooks.

The company, BookEducator.com, put up its first textbook in November, and professors in Brazil, Canada, Spain, and the United States have committed to post their textbooks on the site.

(From left to right) Rick Champlin, Erin Buttars, Kaden Comadena, and Brad Gessell lead Bookeducator.com. Photo by Sara Eaton

Rick Champlin graduated in May 2011 in economics and business administration and is the COO of BookEducator.com. He said while the new website offers just the basic text, an upgrade is available for $20 per student, per semester. The upgrade allows students to enter notes in the digital book, have online discussions with classmates, or take quizzes or surveys and get immediate feedback.

Kaden Comadena, the vice president of global strategy who graduated Dec. 2010 in international business, said additional features also would be available to professors who upgrade to utilize them.

“You can read the textbook on your smart phone, your tablet, your laptop, basically any electronic device. So it’s more convenient for students,” said CEO Erin Buttars, who graduated in May 2011 in human resource management and operations management.

Brad Gessell, the CFO, created BookEducator’s accounting system and coordinated with a local law firm to create contracts for the authors. He is finishing up his undergraduate degree in finance and economics.

The incentive for the authors, Kaden said, is that they get to keep the rights to their book instead of surrendering them to the publishers and receiving royalties.

He said the team is taking what they learned during their time at the Huntsman School and applying it to their experience running the company.

“It’s different when you are on campus, hear about start-ups, and analyze business cases,” he said, “but it’s really fun and unique to be in that position right now ourselves.”

The company was founded in Provo in the spring, but has since moved its headquarters to Logan. The idea for the site came from Chad Albrecht, assistant professor in the management department, and his brother Conan, who is now teaching at BYU. Kaden said the two brothers, who are also the main financial investors of the enterprise, placing their trust in four young executives is “a ringing endorsement for the Huntsman School of Business.”

“We laugh and kid sometimes, but we also take our jobs seriously,” he said. “We’ve been entrusted with a pretty big responsibility. I don’t think they’re doing it because we’re good kids. I think they know the education we got from the Huntsman School of Business is a quality education that truly prepares students for leadership roles.”

The new company leaders said they piloted their book at the ESADE Business School in Barcelona, Spain, and are now reaching out to other schools accredited by the International Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Kaden said the toughest part is getting professors to start using the site.

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Online books spark millions of hits

This article was originally posted September 2011 by The Huntsman Post.

Huntsman professors post their free books online, generate millions of hits

By Paul Lewis Siddoway

Two professors at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business are providing students around the world with free books for their accounting classes.

Larry Walther

Larry Walther, a professor and head of the School of Accountancy, published Principles of Accounting online and offered it to the world for free in 1998, saying that it seemed like “the obvious thing to do at the time.” The book now receives 10 million hits a month from more than 100 universities and colleges.

Dr. Walther’s Principles of Accounting and seven other free volumes he co-authored with Chris Skousen, an associate professor of accounting at the Huntsman School of Business, provide access to the lesson text, workbook problems, and video supplements for lower division accounting principles classes.

Dr. Skousen said since he began using e-books in 2009, they have had a global reach. Instructors from institutions all over the world have started using the Huntsman professors’ e-book materials, including Jared Burgess, who received his MBA from the Huntsman School in 2010 and is now teaching in Korea.

Chris Skousen

The books are also examples of other pillars of the Huntsman School.

“Innovation, entrepreneurship, and leadership are all part of the Huntsman School’s mission,” Dr. Skousen said. “That’s what we’re doing here; we’re at the front of the new thing. The way things are going, you’re going to see a lot more e-books.”

Dr. Walther said that part of his reasoning for offering his books for free was that he hoped to help students. He also said he wanted to keep the information and examples current, without having to reprint the whole work. Dr. Skousen added that the format seems to be the preferred method of students.

“In one class, only one of forty-six students said they preferred to have a real textbook,” Dr. Skousen said. “So now we made it possible to print the whole book, not just each PDF file.”

In July, a national survey by Kelton Research reported that 62 percent of students surveyed would study more often if they could access their textbooks digitally, and 54 percent would study more efficiently.

The books that Dr. Walther and Dr. Skousen have written are available at www.bookboon.com, a website that offers downloads of textbooks, business books, and travel guides for free. Dr. Walther’s work is available at www.principlesofaccounting.com.

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