A new company gives students access to hundreds of thousands of online textbooks for a monthly fee.
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As any university student knows, tuition fees are only the start of the costs of higher education. The average student will spend around 440 GPB each year on textbooks alone. Now, startup Perlego is working on a way to decrease this cost. Perlego offers a subscription model that gives students access to hundreds of thousands of digital textbooks for one monthly fee (currently 12 GBP).
Set up by two 25-year olds, Gauthier Van Malderen and Matthew Davis, Perlego is aiming to be the a book streaming service for textbooks. As with music streaming services like Spotify, Perlego therefore keeps their model simple. They work with around 650 publishers, including major names like Oxford University Press, Taylor & Francis, Wiley and Cengage Learning. Publishers that work with Perlego receive a commission for each book read.
Perlego also supplies publishers with detailed data on the readership of the titles. According to Perlego, publishers benefit from data collection, reduced piracy and a reduction in the number of used book sales that would otherwise eat into their profits. Students benefit by paying just one monthly price for access to any book on the site, and can cancel at any time. At the moment, the books must be read online and cannot be downloaded. However, Perlego are currently working on iOS and Android apps for in-app reading. The app will also feature speech-to-text functionality and a referencing tool that allows users to create citations with one click.
Perlego recently raised USD 4.8 million in funding from a number of venture firms and angel investors, including ADV. They have also recently joined the edtech accelerator at Founders Factory, which is backed by academic publisher Holtzbrinck. At Springwise, we have also previously covered digital book innovations such as serial novels delivered via app and Instagram versions of books.