As we reported back in April, it would not be long before Kno provided a solution for cheap textbooks. We didn’t have to wait long as they today announced the Kno textbook app for the iPad. In case you forgot, Kno is the run by CEO Osman Rashid, one of the founder’s of the textbook rental juggernaut Chegg. Kno originally developed a dual-screen tablet for electronic textbooks, but abandoned that effort a few months ago in search of a different solution for providing cheap textbooks. However, with the huge success of the iPad and growing Android tablet market the company decided it might be best to leave hardware to the experts.
The Kno textbook app is an impressive first effort that even comes with a 15 day money back guarantee. Among the highlighted features:
- A catalog of over 70,000 textbooks at discounts of 30-50%
- Course Manager – Quickly organize your textbooks and materials all in one organized space
- Chapter Preview – A quick method to find the content you wish as an attempt to duplicate flipping through a regular textbook
- The ability to highlight content and create sticky notes
- Words to Friends – Share your thoughts with your social network directly from within your etextbook
Kno is offering their app as a free download and monetizing the effort by having extextbooks purchased from the Kno textbook store. Kno is offering a free textbook to those that participate in the Early Bird Program – simply like them on Facebook through the link, participate in their product feedback discussion, and they will refund you the purchase price of one electronic textbook after completion of the program.
The Kno textbook app allows a user to organize digital textbooks and PDFs into courses through an easy to use drag and drop interface. The Chapter Preview features allows quick flipping through the pages of the digital textbook to facilitate quick finding of desired material akin to flipping to through the pages of a printed textbook – of course, there is a search feature as well. Users can highlight whatever they wish and add sticky notes as well. Furthermore, a Wiki or Web search can be launched from within the textbook app from a highlighted word.
However, the novel feature of Kno’s textbook app is wonderfully called “WTF”, or rather “Words to Friends”. WTF allows users to send out “study messages” to to their social network friends on Twitter of Facebook. However, the study message is not currently linked back to the originally highlighted text and it is not easy to cut and paste either – so WTF indeed :) It is still a much better way to stay awake and entertained in class versus texting on your cellphone or keeping a comic book in your biology textbook.