The Netherlands is the fastest growing market when it comes to digital publishing. There are a ton of startups and established companies that are taking advantage of gaps in the marketplace. Elly’s Choice and Kobo both have unlimited e-book subscription programs. Storytel is enjoying a monopoly when it comes to unlimited audiobooks, after acquiring their sole competition Mofibo for $13 million. A new company has burst onto the scene and they are offering a compelling value proposition, unlimited textbooks.
BUKU has just unveiled a new website and a fleet of mobile apps for people to download as many digital textbooks they want for €24.99 per month and can be canceled on a monthly basis. There is also an annual subscription for €269.99 per year. Teachers can use BUKU for free to prep lessons for their classroom and save on their own textbooks.
The big advantage for students is that the subscription not only provides access to the textbooks for their own academic programs, but get access to content from other courses . The books are available at anytime, on the PC, smartphone and tablet. You can take notes in the textbooks and there is also a neat feature which allows you to read other notes, as long as the student is opted into public sharing. BUKU also offers offline storage for textbooks, but limits the amount that you can download and store locally, I suppose it is meant to curb piracy.
Publishers get paid when a book is read, although BUKU has not disclosed if the entire textbook needs to be read or just a certain percentage. They said on their website that “By registering the reading behaviour, BUKU can determine the payout per book. These so-called statistics – big data – can be seen in real-time by the publisher within their own dashboard. This gives a publisher quick and focused insight into how books are read. This big data can be used to implement targeted improvements and optimise the marketing strategy.”
A number of big publishers see a future with an unlimited textbook subscription plan. This will ensure that almost every student enrolled in college or university will be able to access everything they will need. Amsterdam Press, Medem, Pearson, SDU and VAN Gorcum have all opted into doing business with BUKU.