The international e-publishing platform, bookboon, offers downloads of ebooks and textbooks to students (and anybody) globally, for free. Yes… free! Currently, they have published over 1500 free textbooks around the world and have a database that features a subject range from Accounting to Engineering, Law, Natural Sciences and more. The titles can all be downloaded in PDF format, without prior registration. At this point, even lovers of “freebies” are most likely to be wondering how this is both possible and legal. The answer is: it is legal and has been possible since 2005.
Bookboon’s founders, Kristian Buus Madsen and his brother, Thomas, possess the conviction that education should be available to everybody and that “students should be able to go to university without having to pay for their textbooks”. In 2004, the second-generation publishers developed the idea of offering free ebooks and textbooks and were “convinced [that] it should be possible to offer free educational material to students”. They began putting their concept to work in 2005, in Denmark and launched their global website in 2008. Making them the world’s first online publishers to provide free ebooks and textbooks; and the world’s largest ebook publisher to date.
Their simple, but smart, financing model ensures that it is “future employers” who wish to recruit graduates that fund the academic material. They do so by purchasing a small number of high-quality branding spaces in books. In partnership with student organisations, business professionals and professors, an agreed 15% advertising limit is imposed per book to ensure that ads do not interfere with the experience and academic quality of the books.
After observing an ever-increasing adaptation to their range of free textbooks on a global scale, these online publishers are hoping to further promote the free education of future generations in every part of the globe. The initiative taken by bookboon is an impressive and generous act of goodwill, active citizenship and global citizenship. It feeds directly into the world’s desire to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4, “quality education”, which is about ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting life-long learning opportunities for all.
The founders’ brilliance does not end with offering free textbooks and ebooks. Following feedback received from consumers of the initial site, they then developed two other offerings for paying audiences…
For those who prefer an “ad-free” experience of the “free download” books, $3,99p/m will earn you a Business/ Premium account. It grants one access to over 800 books on topics ranging from Accounting & Finance, to Communication & Presentation, Engineering, Entrepreneurship, Management & Strategy and Personal Development, amongst others.
Lastly, there is the Corporate eLibrary package which offers a host of learning solutions designed to improve employee’s soft skills and personal effectiveness. Available in 8 languages, the simple platform can easily be integrated into your company’s intranet portal or Learning Management system in less than 15 minutes.