In a hybrid venture that combines the subscription and rental e-book models, HarperCollins is partnering with Curriculet, a digital educational reading venture, in a pilot program that offers short-term e-book purchasing to school districts. Using the Curriculet app, teachers can rent a wide variety of e-books for three months to a year while embedding those same titles with customized interactive content, quizzes and enriched media all aligned with Common Core standards.
Formerly called Gobstopper, the newly renamed Curriculet offers school districts a selection of frontlist and backlist e-book titles that can be rented—the company calls it a short-term “purchase” —for three months to a year at very low cost. The venture appears to be a combination of subscription and rental models and allows schools to purchase short-term access to a variety of content. Curriculet is currently offering the majority of the HarperCollins list and access to specific titles can be purchased for $1.99 each per student for three months and $2.99 for a year. In addition, the company will periodically hold “sales” and make a select group of titles available for as little as 99 cents per title per student for three months and $1.99 for a year.
Curriculet also offers teachers the ability to embed curriculum driven content—from quizzes and video to other supplemental content—directly into the e-books for students to respond to. The company claims its platform provides affordable access to content beyond the usual set of classics to contemporary works, and allows teachers to align trade book content with Common Core Curriculum standards. In addition, the embedded supplementary digital content provides analytical feedback on what students read and who did or did not master the materials.
Jason Singer, CEO and cofounder of Curriculet, a digital entrepreneur and former teacher, said the company’s mission is “to ensure more kids develop a love and passion for reading by transforming how books are read, taught, and now bought within schools.” Singer said Curriculet eliminates the need for photocopying or print tests and workbooks and provides teachers with up-to-the minute titles and texts.
“Our digital reading platform allows teachers to make every reading assignment fully interactive overnight,” Singer said, noting that the pilot program, “unchains teachers from that small list of titles in the book room and enables teachers to teach exciting and engaging texts in their classroom every day.”
The partnership began as a pilot program and is being expanded. During its first phase, Curriculet sold more than 4,000 books in jtwo months to six schools with 1,600 students. HarperCollins and Curriculet now plan to extend the pilot through the spring of 2014 to another 250 schools, before extending the program again in summer of 2014.
HarperCollins chief digital officer Chantal Restivo-Alessi, called the partnership, “exciting,” and said, “by joining with Curriculet we are able to give teachers the power to add to supplemental interactive curriculets that are complementary to the e-books and deepen student engagement and drive their reading achievement.”